Solidarity – in Life, Death, and New Life (Mark 14:1-15:47)

by | Apr 17, 2024 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

A remark I once overheard: “I don’t mind suffering when nobody knows about it – as long as somebody knows about it!” It witnesses to the truth that all grief, sickness, trouble are made that much worse when a person who is hurting feels all alone. And then the opposite: grief, sickness and trouble, while hardly good, receive relief when the sufferer comes to know that somebody understands his or her condition “from the inside,” that is, from their own experience of that hurt. A saying from Alcoholics Anonymous catches this truth: “Only an alcoholic understands another alcoholic.”

Of all four of the gospels, the one where Jesus is most alone and abandoned at the end is Mark’s. Everybody ran. Jesus is rejected, abandoned, mocked, betrayed, and even seems forsaken by his Father, God. Jesus knows suffering and death “from the inside.” No matter how alone a person feels, even at death, the Lord Jesus knows.

We hear an echo of this in the old spiritual, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen; nobody knows but Jesus.”

The Passion narrative in Mark is a testimony to just this solidarity, this solidarity in human living and dying. No matter what the trouble, God, in Jesus, knows it “from the inside.”

But as we believe, there’s More: abandonment and death are not the end of the story. This person, God’s Person among us, is lifted up to new life. Not just a resuscitation, as with Jesus’ friend Lazarus earlier in the gospel, but an entirely new way of existing – life glorified beyond our imagining.

The lesson: not only “somebody knows,” but “somebody rises.” Not only somebody goes through suffering and death, but somebody comes to live on the other side of it — and do so, as we’re told, “in glory.”

A final thought. Throughout the whole gospel of Mark, nobody ever acknowledges who Jesus really is – nobody except at the very end this Roman centurion standing there under the cross. He looks up and confesses, “Truly, this man was the Son of God.”

In a conference he gave close to the end of his life, Vincent refers to just this solidarity.  We can’t see someone Suffering without suffering along with him, or see someone cry without crying as well. This is an act of love, causing people to enter one another’s hearts and to feel what they feel, far from those persons who have no feeling for the anguish of the afflicted, or the suffering of poor persons. Ah, how tenderhearted the Son of God was(Volume: 12 | Page#: 221) Charity, 30 May, 1659 added on 6/28/2011

May each of us, in the midst of any tough situation, be given the grace of knowing and feeling Jesus’ solidarity with us as we go through it. But also, may we be given the realization voiced by the Roman soldier, “Truly, this man IS the Son of God,” is God’s person here with us through all our living and dying – but even more so, with us in our rising to unimaginably glorious new life.

1 Comment


    Wonderful memories! Thanks for sharing with us. I really enjoyed reading it. Greetings from Botswana to you all.


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