1.Wisdom 2:12,17-20
2.James 3:16-4:3
3.Mark 9:30-37

                                    Truth that are hard to hear
It is our experience to struggle at times to listen to someone if what he/she says has something to do with our lives or it arouses emotions in us. Such people might be trying to tell us something about ourselves that we find difficult to hear. That is very human tendency reflected in the disciples in this morning gospel. Jesus had something very important to say about what was about to happen to him. In the words of the gospel he was telling them that he would find himself in the hands of others, who would put him to death. This was something that the disciples found it difficult to grasp. As the gospel says, ' they did not understand what he said and they were afraid to ask him. Already in mark's gospel Jesus told them what was likely to happen to him. They were no more open to hearing it the second time than they were the first. They did not understand it and they were reluctant to question him because they were afraid they might not be able to live with answers he would give them. In some ways that is a very human reaction. We often find ourselves not willing to ask questions because we suspect that we would struggle to live with the answers to our questions.

The disciples after having thought  that being part of Jesus 'circle would bring them privilege and status. No sooner had Jesus spoken of himself as someone who would end up as one of the least than the disciples began  to argue among themselves as to which of them was the greatest. They wanted power not for service, but rather they wanted it for its own sake. This in fact is the kind of self centered ambition that you cannot satisfy, so you fight to get your way by force. In place of that very worldly ambition, Jesus places before his disciples a very different kind of ambition, an ambition that has the quality of what James in the second reading refers to as wisdom that comes down from above.' This is God's ambition for their lives and for all our lives. It is the ambition to serve, as Jesus says in the gospel, ' those who want to be first must make themselves last of all and servant of all.' 

This ambition to serve, again in the words of James in that second reading , is something that ' makes for peace and is kindly and considerate; it if full of compassion and shows itself by doing good.

Jesus implies that this is to be our primary ambition as his followers. All our other ambitions have to be useful to that God inspired ambition. In his teaching of his disciples and us all, Jesus elaborates on his teaching by performing a very significant action. He takes a little child and sets the child in front of his disciples, puts his arms around the child and declares that whoever welcomes one such child, welcomes him and not only him but God the Father who sent him. 

Jesus was saying by that action that the ambition to serve must give priority to the most vulnerable members of the society, symbolized by the child who is completely dependent on adults for his or her wellbeing. Our ambition is to serve those  who, for one reason or another, are not in a position to serve themselves. Jesus goes on, assuring his disciples and us that in serving the most vulnerable we are in fact serving him. In the presence of the disciples who seemed consumed with ambition for power for its own sake Jesus identifies himself with the powerless, those who are most dependent on our care. Over against the ambition of the disciples to serve themselves, Jesus puts the ambition to serve him as he comes to us in and through the weakest  members of the society. In our gospel Jesus is putting before us what his family of disciples, what the church, is really about.

Related Posts:


Chapisha Maoni