Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.” We too are amazed. Why didn’t Jesus give Pilate, the priests, the crowds, a final deathless discourse comparable to the Sermon on the Mount or the Last Supper discourses in John’s Gospel? As I reflect on Jesus’ silence, I see something far deeper than the silence of one who just wants to get it over without more words. I see a divine act of release, a choice to release all those around him to their own free choices.
Jesus has already told them who he is. Far beyond words he has also shown them throughout his whole life who he is and the nature of his reign. Who he is has been there all along for them to see through his healings, his stories, his compassionate mercy, his clear and decisive discernments, his empowered stance of love. More words will add nothing. He never forces or indoctrinates anyone. When people turn away, he does not run after them with pleas or threats, for his is a love that sets others free. Now as he faces death, he makes this supreme act of silent release of his disciples, Pilate, the priests, the crowd. They see him. Now they must choose.
This silence is a great mystery of God’s heart. We are confused and angry when God seems silent. We batter God with our perplexities, demands, and accusations. Even the psalms—those great love songs to God—are full of lament about God’s silences. Why doesn’t God answer, explain, and tell us step-by-step what to do?
But God has already answered us. God has already told us who we are and what God longs for. God’s silences in the midst of our furious demands are not God’s absence or indifference but acts of love and release. We are released, set free to choose.

God, your love sets me free. May I embrace my freedom and hear your answer within your unfailing love. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 14:1-72 , Read Mark 15:1-27, 29-47

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Lectionary Week
March 19 25, 2018
Scripture Overview

This week’s readings prepare us for Palm Sunday, a joyous event. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, a symbol of kingship in ancient Israel. The people greet him with loud acclamations. He is coming in the name of the Lord! Standing along the road leading into Jerusalem, how could anyone imagine what would happen that following week? Wasn’t Jesus finally going to manifest the fullness of God’s power, take his place on the throne of David, and overthrow the Romans? No, because that was not his mission. He came not to build an earthly kingdom but to lay aside his rights. He came to be glorified by being humiliated . . . for us. He came to suffer and die . . . for us.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 50:4-9a. What situations have called you to move forward in vulnerability, “knowing that God promises not safety but limitless strength”?
• Read Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29. When have you claimed God’s strength to see you through “the gates of righteousness”?
• Read Mark 11:1-11, 15-18. In a trying time in your life, when have you turned to the love and care of friends? How have you experienced God’s entering your life calmly and gently?
• Read Philippians 2:5-11. How does this early Christian hymn of the church speak to you as you enter Holy Week?

Respond by posting a prayer.