September 23, 2018

Mark 9:30   They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31 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.” 32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Mark 9:33   Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
Stacks Image 32

The prophetic gesture with a little child can also be misread. John Dominic Crossan helps us to hear the message in its cultural setting. He notes that children were not the objects of sentimental affection as they can be in our culture:
But what would ordinary Galilean peasants have thought about children? Would "like a child" have immediately meant being humble, being innocent, being new, being credulous? Go back, if you will, to those papyrus fragments quoted in chapter 1 of this book and think for a moment of the infants, often female but male as well, abandoned at birth by their parents and saved from the rubbish dumps to be reared as slaves. Pagan writers were, according to Menahem Stern, rather surprised that Jewish parents did not practice such potential infanticide (1976-84:1.33, 2.41), but still, to be a child was to be a nobody, with the possibility of becoming a somebody absolutely dependent on parental discretion and parental standing in the community. That, I think, is the heart of the matter with all other allusions or further interpretations clustering around that central and shocking metaphor. A kingdom of the humble, of the celibate, or of the baptized comes later. This comes first: a kingdom of children is a kingdom of nobodies.' (Historical Jesus, 269)
Some inspiration


Kieran O'Mahony

KIERAN'S NOTES HERE

POINTERS FOR PRAYER

1.
Jesus uses the time they are travelling along the road to teach his disciples what it means to follow him. Think of the wisdom you have acquired about life, about faith, about what it means to be a Christian. Who have been your teachers? Remember them and give thanks for them.
2. One of the lessons Jesus gives them is that there is a dying to be endured as we move to a fuller life. That was the road he would travel. It is also our journey, not only at the end of this earthly life, but also in small ways through life. When have you found that by dying in some way you came to a fuller life?
3. Achievement, affirmation, recognition and status are attractive and enjoyable when they come our way. Yet we can be in trouble if, like the disciples, we become caught up in pursuit of them. Jesus tells them that true greatness lies in service of others. Who are the people whose support and assistance have help you now? What has helped you to appreciate the value of loving service of others?

JOHN BYRNE - INTERCOM
A MOMENT OF TRUTH

St Mark gives a deeply moving account of Jesus at a new and decisive stage in his life's journey.
His glory days are over; the opposition has become more pronounced, he has decided that it is time to leave the relative safety of Galilee and go to Jerusalem where he will confront the powers of the nation, "the elders, chief priests and scribes" of last Sunday's passage. So he begins his fateful journey, "making his way through Galilee," as the text notes.
This is a moment of truth then, not a time for miracles but for facing up to harsh reality. Speaking to large crowds would be inappropriate; it is the time for being alone with his faithful disciples and "instructing them" with his deep teaching.
We think of similar moments in our experience (or the experience of great people who have touched our lives). The time for compromise passes, and the time for confrontation arrives. Being "delivered into the hands of men" means laying oneself open to one's opponents. The confrontation is public, there is no hiding from it.
We can identify with Jesus, the courageous leader who is fully conscious of the consequences of his decision to confront. He is now at peace with himself. He doesn't have to work out problems of fear or hurt or resentment..

MICHEL DE VERTEUIL