As we continue the season of Easter, Michael T Winstanley SDB encourages us to go beyond a 'cocktail approach' to look more deeply into the messages each of the evangelists have for us in their accounts of the passion and death of Jesus.
Many people in the UK, I’m told, enjoy a good cocktail, ordered at a bar or produced at home; the ‘Rusty Nail’, ‘Harvey Wallbanger’ and ‘London Fog’ feature amongst the current favourites. Many Catholics too seem to relish cocktails, cocktails of a different kind: scripture-based varieties.
At Christmas in cards, carols and cribs we readily mix items of Matthew’s nativity narrative with details from that of Luke, often without realising what we are doing. The same is true with our perception of the passion and death of Jesus. We tend to blend bits of Matthew and Mark with extracts from Luke and John, and occasionally toss in a Station of the Cross for good measure. Usually, this isn’t done consciously, and we are probably unaware of our thinking and creativity. From one angle, perhaps it doesn’t matter if this cocktail approach enables us to appreciate the suffering of Jesus, his love for us, and moves us to respond to him with gratitude and love. From another angle, it’s unfortunate, I believe, because it means we are not in touch with the differences in the four Gospel presentations; we can miss important messages for our theological understanding and our spirituality.