Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; but Jesus did not want people to know where he was because he was teaching his disciples. And He told them, «The Son of Man will be delivered into human hands. They will kill him, but three days after he has been killed, He will rise». The disciples, however, did not understand these words and they were afraid to ask him what He meant.
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, Jesus asked them, «What were you discussing on the way?». But they did not answer because they had been arguing about who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve and said to them, «If someone wants to be first, let him be last of all and servant of all». Then He took a little child, placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, «Whoever welcomes a child such as this in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me but the One who sent me».
We are all sometime ambitious and wish to be greater than others. Thus in our stupidity, we have allowed others to become the masters of our growth and determine the process. Jesus is not against being ambitious in our life, but the way He proposes is the service. Since every leader is at the service of the group, Jesus reminds us this basic responsibility.
It is in this sense that every leader takes the risks in life and undergo many oppositions and sometime rejections. These are the path of human growth. We all feel sometime being rejected and abandoned. The divine wisdom will help us to take these difficult moments of life into our advantage, and turn all the maledictions into benediction.
By presenting the little as a model for every desiring Christian, as the perfect discipleship, Jesus wishes to elevate every disciple from an ordinary being, into an extraordinary person. He Himself has sown us the perfect model in His incarnation. God has taken the great risk of becoming the creation and to the extent of being rejected on the Cross. Just like Him, God wishes to raise every one of us. It is here that we are called to take up our daily crosses as blessing, because they will certainly lead us towards the resurrection.
«The Son of Man will be delivered into human hands»
Fr, Jordi PASCUAL i Bancells
(Salt, Girona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel teaches us two lessons of Jesus, that are closely linked together. On the one hand, He tells them that «they will kill him, but three days after He has been killed, He will rise» (Mk 9:31). The Father's purpose for His coming to this world, was precisely this: to set us free from sin's slavery and eternal death; thus, we shall become the sons of God. Jesus' greatest form of submission —His death on the cross— shows God's infinite love for humanity: a measureless Love, a Love that does not mind facing the madness and scandal of the Cross.
On the other hand, it is terrifying, to see the Apostles' reaction. They were just too busy thinking of themselves only and forgetting to learn from their Master: «The disciples, however, did not understand these words» (Mk 9:32), because they had been arguing on the way about who was the greatest, and they were afraid to ask Him anything, lest they could be scolded.
With delicate patience, Jesus adds: let him be last of all and servant of all. We have to look for the simple and small, because the Lord identified Himself with them. We have to receive Jesus in our life; thus, we shall be opening the doors to the very same God. It is like programming our life to keep on going.
This is how the holy Rector of Ars, John Baptist Mary Vianney explains it: «Each time we put the needs of others above our own, and provided this does not go against God's Law, we are achieving merits God only knows about». Jesus teaches with these words, but mostly He teaches with His deeds. Those Apostles, who were, in principle, supposed to understand him, but did not quite, after the Cross and Resurrection, will follow in the footsteps of their Lord and their God. And, accompanied by the Holy Virgin Mary, they will grow smaller and smaller every day to let Jesus grow in them and in the world.