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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 11- The Young Man who Ran Off Naked

Mark 14:48-52

     The Jesus said to them, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit?  Day fater day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.  But let the scriptures be fulfilled."  All of them deserted him and fled.
     A certain young man was following him, wearing othing but a linen cloth.  They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.

I have to admit that it feels as if I am reading this passage for the first time.  I was unaware of a naked man running from the garden when Jesus was arrested.  How badly did he want to get away that he was willing to leave behind his clothing?  How scared was he that he was ready to leave all he had just to flee?  All of Jesus' disciples fled, but this one gave everything he had to flee.  In the reflection outlined in the book, Binz points out the otherside of discipleship.  When Jesus called his disciples, he asked them to leave their nets and follow him.  He asked them to leave everything they had behind and follow him.  And they did.  Untill they figured out that he was walking the way of the cross.  Then they fled.  In fact, one disciple left everything behind in order to get away.  They left Jesus, the man who they knew was the Messiah to face His suffering alone.  Doesn' t that just break your heart?

How many times have I done this?  Was it when I didn't go visit a sick friend in the hospital?  Or when I failed to give to someone in need?  Or when I didn't offer to counsel or to pray with a friend who was seeking answers?  Or when I blew off a friend who just needed my ear and time?  Whenever we meet suffering, we are to meet that person as if they were our Lord.  He asks us to love like he loves.  So, we should pray that in the face of suffering, we will love like he loves and not run away.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

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