May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts
In today’s Gospel Jesus has left the north and has begun his journey towards Jerusalem.
He knows that with each step forward he is in greater danger and there is also something else very difficult in this passage.
In this his second warning about his death Jesus hints at betrayal “The Son of Man will be handed over…It would appear that Jesus understands the struggle going on in the heart of Judas..
By speaking clearly about it he seems to be trying to help Judas see the error of his way.
Notice that he no longer waits for crowds to form or gather around him in fact from this passage it almost seems that he does not want the crowds
One could venture to guess that Jesus knows that his main task he is to concentrate on the training of the apostles.
Jesus is fully aware that if the message, the good news is to last it has to be written on the hearts of his closest followers.
A crash course is needed
Yes this passage paints a pretty intense picture.
The next paragraph helps us understand just how important this crash course really is.
While they were walking Jesus heard them arguing among themselves on who would be the greatest…
He didn’t stop them he let them keep talking
He knew he could turn it into a teaching moment later
Their discussion on who would be the greatest teaches us so much about how much they understood the kingdom of God and time was short.
1. It teaches us that they are in denial about the sacrifices, suffering and death which Jesus and eventually all of them will face
2. It shows that they are still dreaming of worldly power and prestige maybe even wealth
3. It helps us understand that their primary motivation is still self-seeking
4. Finally their silence when confronted about their discussion shows that in their hearts of hearts they knew what was right and what was wrong.
Jesus took their visions of grandeur and self interest very seriously
He sat down… and he called them around him
This was a signal to all of them that Jesus considered what he was going to say very seriously
And he challenged them to move from a ambition to rule to an ambition to service and power.
And with the example of a little child reminds them that service to the weak, the poor, those without influence those who can do little for themselves is what their ambition should be directed toward.
So much to think about so much for us to ponder today..
Why are we here…?
Why are we in this beautiful Church?
Why do we give God space in our crowded lives?
Are we here so that we can pass that test we didn’t prepare for?
Are we here so that we seem holy to others?
Or because if we don’t come we fear that God will punish us ?
In other words is our motivation like that of the apostles in today’s Gospel
Is our presence here fundamentally self seeking and self interested here?
Are we in denial about what it takes to be an apostle of Christ?
Are we in denial like the apostles who just can’t accept that being a follower of Christ entails sacrifice and suffering?
Do we continue to delude ourselves into thinking that some way we can avoid our cross whatever it may be, even though Jesus himself did not avoid the cross but rather embrassed it.?
Finally do we accept the fact that being of service to others… is an essential component in our life of faith.?
Can you imagine what world would be like if we all took to heart the call to service in today’s Gospel ?
Let us realize that the gift of the Gospel has been given to us and it is up to us to share it.
Just like Jesus needed the apostles to carry on his message, God needs our generations to continue to move hearts bring the message to those in need
Let us remind ourselves that just like Jesus needed the time to give the apostles a crash course…
We need time to develop and deepen our faith so that we may answer the Gospel’s call to service
One hour a week at Mass is not enough
Let us continually search our minds our hearts our actions our desires so that our motives for following Christ may be pure and holy not self seeking or selfish in any way
Finally every night let’s exam our day and see how much we have placed ourselves at the service of others and the Gospel ?
And if most of our efforts have been directed towards our own self interests let’s promise to do better.
We need to do better.
Whoever receives the poor, the helpless, those who just don’t get it,
Whoever receives the socially awkward, those who can’t fend for themselves.
Whoever receives those who can’t possibly repay an act of kindness.
Those who are hopelessly entwined in self-interest.
If we receive these In the Name Jesus
We Receive him…
We have a lot of work to do