September 20, 2015
Mk 9: 30-37
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. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
We pray over challenging readings this Sunday as we prepare to welcome Pope Francis to the United States. The apostle James writes: “You kill and envy; you fight and wage war. You ask but do not receive because you ask wrongly.” Jesus tells his disciples (and us) today: “The Son of Man is to be handed over, and they will kill him; and three days after his death he will rise.” But the apostles did not understand what Jesus was saying.
Though few of us bear the cross as personally as Jesus did, there are quite a few ways where our faith and our daily work, our family life and care for others may invite us to take up the cross. Often enough it happens through those pinches of reality which bring unwanted suffering in ways we do not plan.
The wisdom of the cross is all about the business of losing our lives, handing over our need for control, and throwing in our lot with this Jesus of Nazareth. He it is who strongly desires to use our particular gifts and talents for the healing and hope of our world. It is Jesus who throws us into relationship with one another, relationships grounded in God’s own generous, life-giving love. And it is Jesus who turns our expectations upside down with the admonition that the greatest will surely become the least; the first will certainly end up the last. It is Jesus who insists that, in noticing and embracing society’s most vulnerable, we receive the life of Jesus himself. This is the epitome of true wisdom!
—The Jesuit prayer team
Crucified Jesus, strengthen the faith within us so that it not give in before temptations,
rekindle hope in us, so that it not get lost by following the world’s seductions.
Protect charity in us, so that it not be deceived by corruption and worldliness.
Teach us that the cross is the way to resurrection.
Teach us that Good Friday is the path towards the Easter of light.
Teach us that God never forgets any of his children
and he never tires of forgiving us and embracing us with his infinite mercy.
But also teach us to not get tired of asking Him for forgiveness and to believe in the Father’s limitless mercy.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!