They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Twice in today’s Gospel, the disciples are afraid of looking stupid. They don’t understand Jesus, and they are embarrassed by their behavior, so they remain sheepishly quiet.
But their silence builds a wall between them and Jesus. The disciples are understandably confused by Jesus’ prediction of his Passion. They think of the Messiah as a triumphant hero, not as one who suffers. But Jesus has shared something intimate about himself, and by choosing not to ask what Jesus means, the disciples reject a deeper, but difficult, knowledge of Jesus. Conversely, by concealing their ambition, they don’t let Jesus intimately know them either.
Sometimes, rather than risk a difficult conversation, we also settle for the relative comfort of silence. Is there anything you’ve been afraid to ask a friend, or anything you’ve been hiding from them? Is there anything you’re afraid to ask Jesus, or that you’re afraid to let him know?
—Daniel Everson, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the U.S. Central Southern province, is currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Lord, we search for that which will bring us true success. We seek for our families that which will bring them enduring fulfillment. You have given us the pathway to such joy. “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Today may our decisions and the ways we spend our time follow your call to greatness.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!