Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature
(Mark 16: 15)
Let us remember God’s Teaching, contained in His Word and
Who Is the Greatest?
Ordinary 25 Year B St. Mark 9: 30 — 37
1. Jesus said, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they
St. Mark, after quoting our Lord, recorded, “But they did not understand
We frequently hear people comment on how slow to understand were the chosen disciples of the Lord, who after all, were soon to be commissioned as His Apostles. In fact, these men were often depicted as “obtuse”, almost dim-witted. In fact, they were precisely the opposite. They were all manual workers (rather than academic i.e. scholars) but highly intelligent and extremely eager to understand the Lord. They were the ones He chose to be the channel through whom He, as Messiah, would reach out to the whole world by word and action.
We, too, like the Apostles can become more than a little bewildered at the depths and heights of the teaching of Jesus. We do not need, however, to get all “het up” over how long it takes for His teaching to “sink in”. We will be learning how to cope with this for the rest of our lives, and so we would be best advised not to get impatient with ourselves, but quietly express our gratitude to God for His mercies, and await His inspirations as He knows best to impart. The secret of the success the Apostles experienced lay in their regular returning, in meditation, to the teaching of Jesus. Much of this (though not all) has been recorded for us in the Bible, especially in the Gospels. We can therefore, following their example, return often to the words of Jesus and literally, feed on His teaching by meditating on the Divine Word.
2. St. Mark recorded that the chosen twelve, “had been discussing
Jesus was perfectly well aware that even the finest of people can fall victim of jealousy and ambition “to be the boss”. He therefore chose the opportunity to lay down His criteria for assessing who is the greatest. As usual, His view is quite the reverse of the normal understanding of superiority and authority. His formula is a shock to everyone:
“If anyone wishes to be the first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Many of us today still find this, just a little “too unrealistic, too impractical”. Again, we do not need to despair if we find this just a bit too demanding. But our Lord is not insisting there be no boss. After all He appointed St. Peter to be the foreman of His band of twelve missioners. What He teaches is that all who aspire to be leaders are to be encouraged to do so — so long as they are not looking for an opportunity to walk over other people to get what they want for themselves. If they do this, they will thereby exclude themselves from the Body they are meant to serve.
Thus our Lord’s vision of true greatness affirms the roles of leaders and servers, but insists that in His Church, all, at all levels, will go out of their way to give priority to the needs of others. In doing so, they will not only obey Jesus, they will meet Him in others, and therefore, meet God in Jesus Christ.
3. It is common for the spiritual person to become disheartened at their lack of progress in the Way Jesus called us to follow Him. But Jesus demonstrated that while we may be given insight as to how pitiful our thoughts and actions may have been, this self-knowledge is not given to depress us or bewilder us. Rather it is to help us identify where we have gone off the path and that God is eager for us not to get lost. It is therefore an affirmation that God is watching every move and when He deems it right, He lets us see it the way He sees it. This is the joy of being a member of the Household of God — that it is not a sin to be human — only for refusing Him our gratitude for leading us closer to Him. Now that is cause for the deepest heartfelt joy! Let us pray for one another that we will have the humility to accept and value His correction.