Intro: in our relationship with God. there are times when, like the disciples in today’s Gospel, we want to be in the driving seat, while lacking understanding and courage. Let’s pray that today’s celebration of the Eucharist may open our minds and strengthen our hearts.
Readings: this 1st reading from Wisdom (2:12; 17-20) is in the form of a speech by those who, in their defiance of God, are determined to persecute the virtuous, whose lives they see as a reproach to their own way of life.
St. James (3: 16-43) recognises that different desires compete within us – holiness and harmony fight against jealousy and ambition.
Gospel: Mark 9: 30-37
Why did God create woman? Because men would never get from A to\.B on a: car journey unless they had someone who was prepared to stop and ask for directions!
We’re too proud to admit we’re lost and we’d rather drive for miles than admit to being wrong. A male characteristic, or common to the whole of humanity? What about school days, when you didn’t understand something, but were so relieved when someone finally put up their hand and asked the question you really wanted to ask all the time, but wouldn’t, for fear of looking stupid.
. Today’s Gospel reveals an equally embarrassing moment for Jesus’ disciples. While He’s trying to tell them where His future lies – torture and death – they’re jockeying for position: as followers of a miracle worker from Whom power flows, it’s important to be the closest to Him. But when He asks them what they’ve been discussing, there’s that embarrassed silence which occurs when you come into a room and just know you’ve been talked about!
How could they be so mean and petty when their Master is baring His soul? Because, like us, there was a shadowy side to their personalities, a point which St. James makes in the second reading where he speaks of a war going on inside us between unselfishness and selfishness, between harmony and jealousy, ambition and squabbles. But Jesus doesn’t tell them off. Instead, like a good teacher He goes back to basics and uses a visual aid in the hope that they’ll see the point – the Kingdom of God isn’t about power struggles or greatness, but love and service. True greatness lies, not in striving to be first, but in being ready to be last, being truly unselfish, always thinking of others and placing them first. Just as an innocent child has no real power or influence, so the apostles had to be prepared to welcome those represented by the child – the little people, the poor, the marginalised, the forgotten ones. Then they will be welcoming Him.
If this same Kingdom is to become a reality in our lives and world of today, it’s equally vital that we should understand the values of Jesus, and live by them.
We live in a world where the dominant philosophy is “I’m all right Jack” and any weaker member& of society are either overlooked or undervalued sometimes both! In this coming week, let’s take a closer look at out own attitudes and motivation. Do we truly live by Gospel values, or do we always want to place ourselves first? Do we keep an eye out for the weaker and more vulnerable sections of our family or community, or are our own needs always uppermost or paramount in our thoughts and concerns?
Perhaps as Jesus comes to us in communion today, we should tell Him what is really in our hearts and minds, confess to Him what direction we’re taking, where we’re going, and who’s coming with us – Him … or someone, something else!