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In our Gospel last Sunday we heard the first of Jesus’ three predictions in Mark’s Gospel of his suffering and death. We heard the second of these predications in our Gospel this Sunday. Jesus’ disciples, though, seem blithely unaware of the significance and seriousness of Jesus’ words. I say this because after Jesus predicts his suffering and death, his disciples got into a discussion about “who was the greatest.” In response to this we are told that Jesus “sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone wished to be first, be shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’” Jesus then placed a child in the midst of his disciples and told them: “Whoever receives one child such as this in m name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me, but the One who sent me.”
As background to the above, it is helpful to know that at the time of Jesus, children had little status or worth. Thus when Jesus said: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” he was clearly identifying himself with the lowly and those of no account. And he was reminding his disciples that they were not to seek after power, position and status. Rather service to and care for one another was to be the hallmark of his disciples.
Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of Wisdom. In the section we read today, we are presented with the figure of the “just one.” The wicked “beset the just one” and seek to “put the just one to the test.” Their motive for doing this is simply that the just one “is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings.”
Once again we read from the Letter of Saint James for our second reading this Sunday. In the section we read today James exhorts us to put aside bad thoughts and behaviors and seek the “wisdom from above.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- When have you put someone else’s needs ahead of your own and become their servant?
- What is the difference between being child-like and being child-ish?
- When have you sought the wisdom from above?