Our proclivity for greatness is rather embarrassing, isn’t it? No wonder the disciples keep their mouths shut when Jesus inquires about the topic of their conversation on the road. We want it, and we want it big time—recognition, sway, importance—but we also get that we shouldn’t admit this out loud.
This week’s Gospel may be the second Passion prediction, but being told that Jesus will be killed is no easier on the second hearing. Maybe the disciples don’t ask questions because they’re afraid it could be true.
For there to be a heresy about the cross, there would have to be an orthodoxy about it. Michael Gorman argues that contentions over how Jesus saves lead to an inadequate grasp of what the Passion means and does.
Sometimes preaching in a lectionary church is like being Philip in Acts 8—the Spirit plucks us up and drops us where ever she darn well pleases. It is necessarily this way, certainly. Between the thematic requirements of the seasons of the church year and the sheer length of the four Gospels spread out over 156 Sundays, there is no way we can read all four in their entirety in three years. So, we skip stuff. Especially in Year B, as we try to mash the shortest Gospel, Mark, together with the other Gospel, John, together in some supposedly coherent way.