To be a sincere disciple of Jesus, we must show our faith in love for others as well as for God
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 19, 2021): WIS 2:12,17-20; PS 54:3-4,5,6,9; JAS 3:16 – 4:3; MK 9:30-37
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
“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.” (Mark 9:37)
The Gospel for today recounts a journey Jesus made through Galilee. He spoke with His disciples about serious matters, telling them that He would be arrested and killed. Then, three days later He would rise from the dead. Their reaction seems strange. Instead of asking for more information about when and where and how all this would occur, they are silent and afraid to ask questions. Perhaps they simply did not want to believe it could happen. Surely, they loved Jesus and did not want to think about His suffering and death. Instead of paying attention to this extraordinary news, they chose to talk about something that seems to matter more: themselves. The Twelve did not lament Jesus’ future death, or attempt to make sense of His words about rising up. No. They argue instead about who is the greatest among them and are too ashamed to admit it. Just as the Apostles had stayed silent rather than ask about His death and Resurrection, they did not answer when He asked about the dispute they had.
But our Lord does not chide them. Arriving in Capernaum, Jesus proceeds to tell them what it really means to be great. “‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’ 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 send Me’” (Mark 9:35-37). That little child would have been considered a nobody in that society just like many others. But unlike the Apostles and all of us who put ourselves first, this child was precious to Christ. Only those who open their eyes and hearts to all who are disregarded or despised, to all who mean so little to the world, but so much to God, will know Christ and through Him, His Father – and ours. Once more Jesus reveals that ordinary human attitudes are different from the Divine. To be great before God, we must be humble. We must serve. We must love.