The Least

Posted by James Hahn on

Mark 9:33-37

Once bitten twice shy is the saying and I think it applies to the first part of today's Gospel reading. Jesus tells the disciples of His coming Passion for the second time. Scripture says, "they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him." Again we see the disciples thinking as man thinks and not as God thinks. Therefore they didn't understand how this sort of thing could happen to the Messiah. Why were they afraid to ask Jesus any questions? Perhaps they were afraid that He would call them "Satan" as He did Peter. They weren't about to make that mistake! They'd already been getting in enough trouble with Jesus - asking Him to make more bread, rebuking Him for talking about the Passion, not being able to cast out a demon - so they probably wanted to play it safe and stay low for a while.

It's obvious that they really were not grasping what Jesus was leading them towards when He mentioned His Passion. We can see this because on their journey to Capernaum they are arguing about who will be the greatest. They still had earthly vision. Jesus, gently leads them further into the mystery of God. He shows them that to be the first one must be the last and be the servant of all. To be the greatest in the Kingdom one must "compete" with another in seeking to be the servant. Their and our competition should not be one that pits us against each other but seeking to out do one another in service and generosity.

He illustrates this beautifully by embracing a child. Here we have the Lord and King of the universe holding the smallest, in the eyes of the world, and telling the disciples that they must even seek to serve those who are the least and do so in Jesus' name. Their ideas of power, prestige, and the like are slowly fading as Jesus continues to reveal to them the true Kingdom of God.

FROM THE SAINTS - "Use this prescription for your life: "I don't remember my own existence. I don't think of my own affairs, because I haven't the time." Work and service!" - Saint Josemaria Escriva The Forge # 853

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