Greetings on this the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Wis 2:12, 17-20; Ps 54:3-4, 5, 6 and 8; Jas 3:16—4:3; Mk 9:30-37
Notes: Trigger alert!!
The readings from Book of Wisdom and the Letter of James (and in part the responsorial pslam) all lay bare the reality of the difficult situation of humanity.
Basically, we can be xxx, yyy and zzz (none of them very complementary).
The message though is NOT that we are bad. Don’t get stuck there.
The message is that to be like Jesus we have to see through and beyond these errors and tendencies.
We need to see the child in all persons.
And then receive them as child.
In that we are ministers worthy of the cross.
Children can be:
- Break the Rules.
- Try our patience.
- Test the limits.
- Doubtful of gentleness.
- Even violent, certainly impish.
The book of Wisdom describes well children of which we are accounted as one.
The Lord upholds my life.
O God, I will praise you:
- save me.
- defend me.
- sustain me.
- hear my prayer.
- I can be ruthless.
- I can be deadly.
- I can be godless.
How true it is that the worst instincts exist in all of us to some degree.
We need to own that and realize the Lord upholds my life because he sees past all that.
That is to say He delivers us from the worst instincts of our own and those of others.
The list continues (Yikes!):
- Selfishness ambition.
- War ready.
- Passion driven.
Yet it is possible for us to be otherwise:
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.
God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God has not abandoned us!
He calls us to glory through the Gospel.
Today’s gospel portion is a very direct message with two points made in the plain.
- Ministry to the Gospel can be deadly to the minister:
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
- You must receive all persons, as horrible they can be, as simply children, as they clearly are:
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”
Let me be clear, Jesus was not talking about loving those adorable children who can sometimes be cranky. I mean, who doesn’t love little kids?
Instead Jesus is saying (taking the lists of things in mind of the first and second readings) all persons are like this and they are children.
They are children first.
They are children last.
They are children always.
Other ‘child’ Gospel of Mark references:
- Mk 2:5 he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”
- Mk 5:41 He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!
- Mk 7:30 When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
- Mk 9:25 Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!”
- Mk 10:14 When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Jesus makes this vision a key requirement to be in ministry:
If you can see the most vile among humanity as a child in need of a mother and act accordingly then you may be first among My Disciples.
Peace be with you,