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TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Year B) 19th September 2021

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark 9:30-37
Jesus and his disciples came from the mountain and began to go through Galilee. He did not want
anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed
into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they
did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing
about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the
greatest.
He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and
servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to
them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me
welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”


ACCEPTING JESUS CHRIST



Mother Teresa wisely counselled, ‘Humility is truth; the path that will lead us to be more like Jesus is the path of humility. Humility is the mother of all virtues. By being humble our love becomes real. If you are humble, nothing will harm you, because you know who you are. If you are blamed, you will not be discouraged and if they call you a saint, you will not put yourself on a pedestal!’
As we saw from last week, Mark presents Jesus ‘after leaving the mountain’ as predicting his passion and resurrection and he expects his followers to follow suit, to die and to rise again. Again a misunderstanding follows this announcement, ‘they did not understand the saying and they were afraid to ask him’. And so they remained silent. Their minds could not grasp the possibility of an enemy overcoming him. They were ashamed to admit their slowness of intellect or afraid that Jesus would spell out in detail the truth of an unwelcome forecast. So, the disciples dismissed his disturbing prophesy and became engaged in arguing which of them was the most important and who would hold the principal post in the earthly messianic kingdom which they still expected him to set up. Later we will hear of James and John asking for the top jobs in his kingdom – minister of finance and minister of commerce! Jesus did not reprove them for their worldliness; he had read their hearts and reminded them that his kingdom would be one of service. The higher their position, the more that person would have to be the servant of others. Now Jesus introduces a child as a model for his followers. They were to be as ‘little ones’ and whoever accepts his disciples and listens to their message would be accepting Jesus Christ himself. Indeed, not only Jesus, but also his Father who sent him on earth, ‘anyone who welcomes you welcomes me and those who welcome me, welcome the one who sent me’. (Matt, Lk. 10; Jn. 13).
Many today in our Western world have abandoned Christianity and yet devote their time, making this planet a better place in which to live. This is an excellent ideal with distinct possibility of success but only if the Fatherhood of God and the true brotherhood/sisterhood of humankind is upheld. Otherwise it is a vain Utopia. If God and Christ’s teachings are omitted from the reckoning, we will in the words of James in our second reading today be engaged in ‘disorder and foul practice’. (James 3: 11) Christians have made war on Christians because neither side in the struggle was truly Christian. Jesus became man, suffered and died as man for our sakes. By his resurrection he conquered death and gained heaven for us. Heaven is our true destiny. Loving God and neighbour, carrying our cross is the only way. To accept Christ is to accept the Father who sent him and he in turn will accept us.

Kevin Lyon
Archdeacon of Glendalough


 


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