The Passion of Jesus is a “word to the weary”. This is how to hear the story of the Passion of Jesus, the Prophet Isaiah says in our first reading for Palm Sunday. (Isaiah 50:4-7)
It will “rouse them” the prophet says.
Who are the weary? The gospel of Mark points them out. They’re the disciples of Jesus who fall asleep in the Garden before the challenges of faith. They’re the religious leaders and political leaders who can’t see beyond their nation and its security. They’re the crowd that cries out for the death of One promising them a kingdom. They’re the soldiers blindly carrying out an unjust sentence.
Mark’s Gospel, like the others, tells a story that takes place mostly in darkness. In a dark garden Jesus prays and is betrayed, on a dark day he is sentenced and crucified, the day ends in the darkness of a tomb.
But there are moments of light for seeing more. There’s the room in Bethany where costly perfume is poured on Jesus’ head, anointing him for his death. There’s the room near the temple where Jesus took bread and wine and gave them to his followers, pledging to bring them to his Kingdom. There’s the centurion who suddenly sees “ the Son of God” as Jesus breathes his last breath. There’s Joseph of Arimathea and the women who do not abandon him but carefully buried him.
Who are the weary? We are, for we also look on in the darkness, not seeing God’s great Love and its promises. Yet Isaiah says, speaking of Jesus, “the Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.” He speaks to us in his Passion, a story to rouse us.