A Catholic Monthly Magazine

24 Hours

Twenty-Four Reflections on the Death and Resurrection of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark

by Liz Pearce

We are an Easter people: sisters and brothers of the Risen Jesus. We are also people of passion and of the Passion. Each day, each hour, each moment, is a re-creation of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. We are the everyday embodiment, the everyday revelation, of The Way:

a way of pain and of joy;
a way of words and of silence;
a way of presence and of absence;
a way of mission and of retreat;
a way of service and of prayer;
the Way of Love.

Somehow, in our already overcrowded, over-scheduled days, we must be attentive to and reveal God’s love for us. We need to consciously live as Jesus lived, and learn from his witness, his Love. Throughout each and every day we pray and we discern; we betray and we deny; we speak and we listen; we come together and we retreat; we share and we serve; we die to self and we rise to new life. Yes. Every day. The liturgy of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection is our liturgy for daily living.

Now this is not a morbid contemplation of a brutal betrayal, torture and murder. Rather, I wish to incorporate a living, life-giving, loving God into my daily being. I wish to accompany Jesus, as indeed Jesus accompanies me: moment by moment, breath by breath, thought by thought.

I took the Passion and Resurrection stories from Mark’s gospel. I created “24 Hours”: 24 reflections that cause me to pause; to contemplate the scripture; and to dialogue with Jesus, my constant companion. I found 24 pebbles. As I completed each reflection, I put down a pebble. After 24 reflections, I had formed a circle, a reminder of never-ending divine love. Using the pebbles as a counter also meant that if I was interrupted during my prayer, I had a visible prompt when I re-engaged with the reflections.

Here is my contemplative response. May yours be filled with grace and blessing.

The 1st Hour : Jesus is anointed.
Mark 14:3-9

Jesus, you teach me that I am anointed.

When a tear caresses my cheek, I am anointed with the empathy of the holy.

When a word kisses my heart, I am anointed with the wisdom of Sophia.

When a breath of the spirit enlivens my soul, I am anointed.

Holy Anointing, thank you.

The 2nd Hour:  Jesus breaks bread. Mark 14:22-28

Jesus, you show me how to nourish and to be nourished.

When I share a simple meal with family, you are present.

When I give food to the foodbank, you are fed.

When I invite another to my table, we share eucharist.

Tender nourishment, thank you.

The 3rd Hour: Jesus prays in the garden. Mark 14:32-36

Jesus, you invite me to pray.

When I hear the dawn chorus, I sing with you.

When I stand bathed in crepuscular light, I stand awash in you.

When I see a baby’s smile, I rejoice with you.

Gentle listener, thank you.

The 4th Hour: Jesus is betrayed. Mark 14:42-50

Jesus, you urge me to stay strong.

When my aging body betrays me, you are my solace.

When my spirit sags, you lift me up.

When my shoulders droop with the weight of despair, you are my support.

Steadfast God, thank you.

The 5th Hour: Peter denies Jesus. Mark 14:66-72

Jesus, you enlighten me: I recognise my weaknesses.

When I fail to honour the dignity of another, I deny you.

When I fail to recognise your face in another, I deny you.

When I fail to acknowledge the divine spark within myself, I deny you.

Merciful embrace, thank you.

The 6th Hour: Jesus stands before Pilate. Mark 15:1-15

Jesus, you reveal that silence is a powerful voice.

When I refuse to retaliate verbally, you inhabit the pause.

When I refuse to entertain gossip, you delight in the silence.

When I refuse to accept verbal abuse, you become my voice.

God of the liminal space, thank you.

The 7th Hour: The soldiers mock Jesus. Mark 15:16-20

Jesus, you teach me the value of integrity.

When I don’t compromise the truth, we stand together.

When I acknowledge the truth in others, I acknowledge you.

When I root myself in Truth, I am grafted onto you.

Radical love, thank you.

The 8th Hour: Simon of Cyrene carries the cross. Mark 15:21

Jesus,you prepare me to serve.

When I am co-opted for the common good, I become your hands.

When I visit a housebound person, I become your eyes.

When I offer a non-judgemental listening ear, I am your heart.

Empowering presence, thank you 

The 9th Hour: Jesus is offered wine and myrrh. Mark 15:23

Jesus, you model discernment.

When I take time to consider a reply, I invite you into the question.

When I put myself in another’s shoes, I put myself in your shoes.

When I save an e-mail to draft, I ask you to proof-read it.

Breath of wisdom, thank you.

The 10th Hour: Jesus is crucified. Mark 15:24a

Jesus, you prepare me for suffering.

When chronic pain grips me, I receive your gentle tending through health care and medication.

When grief sneaks up and startles me, I welcome your embrace.

When the daily grind of living threatens to crush me, your graciousness revives me.

Silent presence, thank you.

The 11th Hour: The soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothes. Mark 15:24b

Jesus, you exhort me to clothe the naked.

When I lavish kisses and hugs on a frail, frightened woman, I clothe the naked spirit.

When I adorn a struggling adolesent with praise, I clothe the naked soul.

When I recycle clothes, I clothe the naked body.

Heart of compassion, thank you.

The 12th Hour: Insults are hurled at Jesus. Mark 15:29-32

Jesus, you embolden me: I explore areas of resistance.

When unkind words shadow me, I ask them to join in a song of love.

When people hurt me, I bless them.

When change derails me, I follow the road less travelled.

Love-who-dares, thank you.

The 13th Hour: Jesus cries out to God. Mark 15:34

Jesus, you teach me to hold the question.

When tragedy strikes and I ask, ‘Why?’, your eyes fill.

When I am confronted with the inexplicable, your heart fills.

When exasperation screams aloud, your cupped hands tenderly hold my pain.

Sacred vessel, thank you.

The 14th Hour:  Jesus dies. Mark 15:37

Jesus, you accompany me as I confront my mortality.

When I stand beside my mother’s grave, I know my time will come.

When I plant a seed in the dark earth, I know new life will bloom.

When I see the sun set, I know a new dawn will arise.

Patient companion, thank you.

The  15th Hour :The Centurion recognises God. Mark 15:39 

Jesus, you insist I proclaim the living God.

When I speak of you, Love speaks.

When I share your action in my life, Love grows.

When I fail to seek you, Love whispers my name.

Voice of love, thank you.

The 16th Hour: Jesus is buried. Mark 15:42-47

Jesus, you invite me to a time of retreat.

When I am overwhelmed by darkness, Love embraces me.

When I fear there is no escape, Love guides me.

When I need to begin again, Love rebirths me.

Ever-present midwife, thank you.

The 17th Hour: The women near the cross. Mark 15:40-41

Jesus, you encourage me to dwell in community.

When we eat together, we eat with you.

When we pray together, we pray with you.

When we share our story, we enrich all our lives.

Brother-Sister, thank you.

The 18th Hour: The women find an empty tomb. Mark 16:1-8

Jesus, you reveal that for every ending there is a beginning.

When the children leave home and I am on my own, I begin anew.

When I lose my job, I begin again.

When I become stalled on my pilgrimage, you take my hand.

Alpha and Omega, thank you.

The 19th Hour: Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9

Jesus, you enlarge my heart.

When I see an old man sleeping on the park bench, I see you.

When I hear the music from the busker, I hear you.

When I see her crooked, toothless smile, I see your smile.

Heart-song, thank you.

The 20th Hour: Mary Magdalene tells the disciples that Jesus is alive.

Mark 16:10

Jesus, you give me the courage to reveal you to others.

When I smile at a tired check-out operator, you smile.

When I put a cool cloth on a feverish forehead, your hand is there.

When I kiss a child good-night, your lips bless their cheek.

In-dwelling God, thank you.

The 21st Hour: Jesus appears to two disciples. Mark 16:12-13

Jesus, you embolden me when I am fearful.

When I take flight, you fly with me.

When I retreat, you sit with me.

When I seek sanctuary, you open wide your heart.

Safe-haven, thank you.

The 22nd Hour: Jesus appears while the disciples eat.  Mark 16:14

Jesus, you come to us in everyday life.

When I listen, I listen to you.

When I acknowledge my companions, I acknowledge you.

When we break bread together, eucharist.

Faithful presence, thank you.

The 23rd Hour: Jesus commissions the disciples.  Mark 16:16-18

Jesus, you beckon me.

When I choose not to blaspheme, I show you are important.

When I choose not to entertain gossip,

I show the dignity of each individual is important.

When I choose to care for my body, I show that I am a temple, a shekinah of love.

Holy invitation, thank you.

The 24th Hour: Jesus ascends into heaven. Mark 16:19-20

Jesus, you are the source of life.

When my prayer falters, you pray for me.

When I am desolate, you console me.

When mystery baffles me, you honour the question.

Life-force, thank you.

Thich Nhat Nanh’s verse sums it up for me:

Waking up this morning, I smile:
Twenty four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live each hour fully
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.

Twenty four hours with Jesus: a blueprint for life.   

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