This gospel of Mark prepares the disciples for their future mission to further spread the gospel teachings. All the readings during the last 5 weeks of Lent have a continuous theme – eternal life, discipleship, and service. Jesus’ disciples asked Him: “We have left everything and followed you, what’s in it for us?” – their thoughts were constantly on themselves even after three years of being with and listening to Jesus’ parables. The disciples were individuals who had left all to follow Him for a new fellowship. It is a solid example and a call to enter communion with others.
- Sermon by Fr. Yuriy Tychenok on the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent
- Sermon by Fr. Zenon Racki on the First Sunday of Great Lent
- Sermon by Fr. Oleh Stefanyshyn on Sunday of Cheesefare
Jesus tells them exactly what will happen to Him and by association with Him, what will also happen to them – His prediction is just not taken onboard, that Christ’s path to the kingdom is via suffering, death, and resurrection: ”…to give His life a ransom of many”, this is in the hands of His Father and the powers around him and eventually by the apostles’ connection to Him, it will also be the apostles’ pathway to the kingdom – to follow Him means continually serving others.
Jesus’ time on earth, has been about setting people free from all sorts of issues – physical, mental, and from the grip of evil with the authority for service and self-sacrifice to humanity and that is His pathway following faithfully His Father’s direction.
In our catechism “Christ our Pascha” in chapter 957, it says the following: “The Venerable Metropolitan Andrey taught that “The aim of governing authority is to service the social good, to preserve and protect the natural and truly authentic freedom of citizens, families, and community organizations.” There is another section on social directives from a Patriarchal Sobor of our Church offering directions on service and living at the service of others – all these are long-held traditions that go to the heart of what Jesus taught and what our church constantly tries to live and encourage all to stand by, it is not about ruling and dominating people, that authority and its leadership are for the benefit of people, communities in society.
The gospels offer a personal call, deep-rooted faith in the value and meaning of life, an outgoing hope that always looks ahead and beyond the present, and as the resurrection Sunday shows, that this breaks through the boundaries of death and is based on the conviction that since God became man, our lives are not static but reveals themselves in our constant encounter between us and the world we are in. This is our time for yearly regeneration, providing a way of life that is different. Our church provides a certain way, a certain proven way – that is our Great Lent.
Jesus asks us to be different from the rest of society, from the conformity of the world. By doing this, it also unites us with Christ, His church, other believers, and people who gave and give service to humanity. To be a follower of Jesus is to serve: “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mk.10:45)