The lion can lead us to the lamb

Published 9:12 am Friday, March 27, 2015

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Timothy Reker

Weather is a common topic of conversation in our area, especially in March when it changes so frequently.

After almost balmy weather a week ago, I am writing as we brace ourselves for another winter storm advisory. (Should it be a spring storm advisory?) A perennial weather “truth” about March is that it comes in as a lion and leaves as a lamb, or the opposite.

Email newsletter signup

Which will it be this year? Whatever happens outside, what is going to happen to you spiritually as Holy Week begins and March ends? My suggestion: let the lion lead you to the lamb.

The “lion” in this case is the Evangelist Mark, who is represented in religious art as a lion; this symbol comes from the “Four Living Creatures” in Ezekiel 1:5-21 and 10:20f. (FYI, the symbols for the other three gospels are: Matthew, a man; Luke, a winged ox; and John, an eagle.)

Mark is the gospel that many Christian denominations are using this year and this Sunday, Palm Sunday, some of us get to listen to two gospel readings: the triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-10) and the passion account (Mark 14:1-15:47).

Listen carefully as Jesus sends his disciples to prepare for his entry into Jerusalem. Use your imagination to join the crowds who welcome him. Lay your “cloaks” on the road for the Messiah, surrendering all that you are and have to the promised one. Pick up your branches or palms and wave them in jubilation. The one “who comes in the name of the Lord” is knocking on our door this Holy Week; be prepared to welcome the Lord.

How quickly the tide, composed of human hearts, turns as we read or listen to the solemn proclamation of the Passion. This may not be what the followers of Jesus, including us, expected, but we are asked to follow the suffering servant as he makes his way to Calvary.

Try to understand the meaning of the unnamed woman anointing Jesus with perfumed oil.

Reflect upon the preparation and celebration of the Passover meal, the last supper and the gift of the Eucharist.

Consider what the actions of Judas, the betrayer, and Peter, the denier, mean for us today.

Enter Gethsemane with Jesus and heed his plea, “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.”

Stay close to the Lord as he is arrested and led to the high priest.

Accompany Jesus while he is brought to Pilate and listen to the crowds cry out loudly, “Crucify him.”

Try not to turn away as the soldiers crown Jesus with thorns, then mock and scourge him.

Perhaps you are another Simon of Cyrene, who is being asked to help carry Jesus’ cross.

Ponder the depth of God’s love for us revealed in the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. Truly, “there is no greater love.”

Don’t stop there. Follow Jesus all the way to Easter morning and encounter the lamb who was slain now risen from the dead.

Read at least the first eight verses of Mark 16 and marvel with the women at the tomb as they hear, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.”

Yes, the lion (Mark) can lead us to the lamb!


The Rev. Timothy T. Reker is the pastor at St. Theodore Catholic Chuch in Albert Lea and St. James Catholic Chuch in Twin Lakes.