Marks's reminder, which occurs over and over again in his Gospel, is compelling. Despite the cost and the risk, Jesus is leading his disciples to Jerusalem where he will confront the Jewish leaders, be condemned, beaten and crucified on a garbage heap outside the city walls. What kind of power did the Lord have that enabled him to proceed into what we know was his certain death?
Determined to announce God's unconditional love despite the danger drove Jesus to Jerusalem. As God would not give up on his people, neither could Jesus. His life mattered little if he did not submit himself to the consequences of his challenging words and actions, and in all of this he witnesses to us about the "cost of discipleship." How we must honor the martyrs, not only of ages long past, but in our own time.
Recently I was with a group of older sisters several of whom ministered in Central America, and their most enduring memory was of women and men who had been martyred for no other reason than they ministered to and among the poor and helped them create cooperatives in order to live more humanly. Living the Gospel was simple but deadly. We must live for others no matter the danger or consequences.
Today, pray not to be afraid of your own "Jerusalem."
What do you think of people willing to risk martyrdom for the sake of God's reign?