VI. Week of Lent
Monday 14th March
Evangelium: John 8, 12-20
Thought of the day: “I am the light of the world”
Task for the Day: In the early morning, at night, take the time to pray lighting up a candle. May this little light make your entire day shining, be mindful of the others, spread out simphaty, your goodwill, your kindness, your mercy at school, at work, in your family.
Tuesday 15th March
Evangelium: John 8, 21-30
Thought of the day: “the one who sent me is true, and what I declare to the world I have learnt from him”
Task for the Day: Let’s spend your day being mindful of the others, accept to go to the meeting with the unknown, to be challenged, also in your beliefs and your faith. Today, speak a word to someone you don’t usually address to.
Wednesday 16th March
Evangelium: John 8, 31- 42
Thought of the day: “and the truth will set you free”
Task for the Day: Dare the truth; what is heavy to your heart, to your life, tell it to someone who you hurted or you’ve been hurted by.
Thursday 17th March
Evangelium: John 8, 51-59
Thought of the day: “whoever keeps my word will never see death”
Task for the Day: Take the Bible with you in your bag; as an example, read again the Gospel during the day.
Friday 18th March – VI. Week of Lent
Evangelium: John 10,31-42
Meditating the Story of the Passion in St. Mark’s Gospel
The King and the governor (Mk. 15:1-15; see Mt. 27:1-26; Lk. 23:1-25)
1 First thing in the morning, the chief priests, together with the elders and scribes and the rest of the Sanhedrin, had their plan ready. They had Jesus bound and took him away and handed him over to Pilate.
2 Pilate put to him this question, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ He replied, ‘It is you who say it.’
3 And the chief priests brought many accusations against him.
4 Pilate questioned him again, ‘Have you no reply at all? See how many accusations they are bringing against you!’
5 But, to Pilate’s surprise, Jesus made no further reply.
6 At festival time Pilate used to release a prisoner for them, any one they asked for.
8 When the crowd went up and began to ask Pilate the customary favour,
9 Pilate answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?’
11 The chief priests, however, had incited the crowd to demand that he should release Barabbas for them instead.
12 Then Pilate spoke again, ‘But in that case, what am I to do with the man you call king of the Jews?’
13 They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’
14 Pilate asked them, ‘What harm has he done?’ But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify him!’
15 So Pilate, anxious to placate the crowd, released Barabbas for them and, after having Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.
Here the power of heaven faced the power of Rome; this would have had a special significance for a Roman audience. The Sanhedrin had legalized their sentence of the night before, but they had no power to carry it out. Jesus had to be condemned by a Roman court, if he was to be put to death. Pilate was not interested in purely religious charges (cf. Acts 18:15) and so he asked Jesus the only question of interest to him as the representative of Rome (2). The NIV is probably right in translating Jesus’ reply as ‘Yes’, although other versions make it more vague. Jesus did not deny his kingship; he only showed that it was totally different from this world’s ideas of kingship. As he had accepted the other charges before the high priest, so he accepted this one before the governor. Other accusations the high priests would bring, but Jesus would pay no attention to them (4), to Pilate’s amazement. Again, amazement is not belief. Pilate could not have believed that Jesus’ kingship was any threat to Rome or he would have acted on it at once. Was this meant by Mark to reassure other Roman authorities that the early church did not represent a political threat?
It seems as if half the crowd before Pilate had no special interest in Jesus at all; they were simply there in the hope of getting the governor to release a well–known freedom–fighter named Barabbas. The chief priests had no interest in Barabbas. They belonged to the upper class and had too much to lose by any rebellion against the imperial power. They intended to use Barabbas as part of their scheme to secure Jesus’ condemnation. As in many modern states, an amnesty for prisoners might be proclaimed on national or religious occasions. Pilate saw this as a way of escaping from an awkward situation; the crowd saw it as a chance of getting their hero back; the chief priests saw it as a chance of getting a death sentence for Jesus. The crowds and the chief priests got their way; Pilate was trapped.
When Pilate asked his deliberately insulting questions in vs 9 and 12, he must have known that it made Jesus’ death certain. To ask the chief priests to acknowledge Jesus as king and to expect them to beg for his release was absurd. He must have been trying to taunt them for the difficulty that they had put him in. It had the obvious result: Barabbas was to be freed and Jesus crucified (the death that Barabbas would have faced, if Jesus had not undergone instead). Crucifixion was a cruel and lingering death reserved for slaves and rebels and it had already been used freely in Palestine. The more the crowd was asked for reasons, the more they shouted and refused to give any. Pilate, the moral coward, gave way to avoid the riot that seemed on the point of starting (15; cf. Mt. 27:24). But Mark has made his point: only an unjust Roman official would put to death a harmless religious teacher, and even Pilate would have known that the charges were false. Politics, not religion, was to be the deciding factor, as often today in time of persecution.
Thought of the day: “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” John 10, 31
Task for the Day: Try to give up some of your “bad habits”.
Saturday 19h March
Evangelium: Matthew 1, 16-18 et 21-24
Thought of the day: “When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do”
Task for the Day: Today, pay attention to the signs the Lord is sending you; at the end of the day, review and focus in your evening prayer.
Sunday 20th March
Evangelium: Luke 22, 14-23 et 56
Thought of the day: “Why are you asleep? Get up and pray not to be put to the test”
Task for the Day: Wear a discreet sign which expresses about your faith: a cross, a little medallion, as an evidence of your devotion.