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25th Sunday Ordnary time, Cycle b September 20, 2009

25th Sunday Ordnary time, Cycle b September 20, 2009

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B – September 20th, 2009Scripture ReadingsFirst
: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20.
Second
: James 3:16-4:3.
Gospel
: Mark 9:30-37Prepared by: Fr. Stephen Dominic Hayes, OP1.
Subject Matter
 
 
In the Gospel of this Sunday, Jesus demonstrates the meaning of what authentic greatnessis. He makes two points: first of all, that it is as a servant that a Christian finds greatness,and, secondly, that true intimacy with God comes only through humility.
 
The whole pattern of the readings puts forward the passion and death of Jesus Christ as thefundamental pattern by which God is reconstructing the world from the inside, making theevent of Calvary the center and navel of the universe.2.
Exegetical Notes
 
In the first reading, the book of Wisdom places on the lips of the wicked a speech in whichthey scapegoat the just man as a reproach to them and for that reason seek to destroy him.The book of Wisdom maintains that immortality, specifically that blessed immortality ofunending existence with God (
cf.
Ch. 3), shall be the reward of the just man who perseveres.The author of the book of Wisdom seems to be heavily dependent upon Isaiah 52-66 for thistreatment. The consequences to speak not only of the rejection of the just man by thewicked in general, but to place it in a specific and prophetic context that points to Christ’sown sacrifice on the cross. These words and words like them will be spoken by the enemiesof Christ as they seek is destruction.
 
The apostle James makes the point in the second reading that the worldly wisdom by whichthe world works, a thing of “jealousy and selfish ambition”, has been revealed for what it is bythe heavenly wisdom which has come down with Christ, which is "first of all pure, thenpeaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy orinsincerity.” The apostle next brings forth the connection between the possession of wisdomand its peace, and the cultivation of peace in deeds, something which is apparently ratherlacking in the community to which he addresses his words. He blames the disorderedpassions of Christians as the reason why they experience internal and external conflicts, andthe failure of their prayers, because there are driven by passion, not the peace which flowsfrom wisdom.
 
 
As Jesus continues to move through Galilee, he instructs his disciples privately in what is tohappen to him in Jerusalem. He is to be delivered up to death, but will rise again. Thedisciples, "do not understand," but at the same time fear too much what his words mightmean to actually pursue their meaning with him. This is the second prediction of his passionin Mark. Jesus teaches his disciples that Son of Man must suffer and die, in contrast to theapocalyptic expectations of the time for the Messiah to be a victorious warrior king, whowould free Israel from the Roman boot. The reference to being “handed over” in this secondprediction perhaps introduces the notion of Judas betrayal, and Christ's desertion by theother apostles; thus making his own disciples complicit with Jesus’ Jewish and Romanpersecutors in his destruction. Yet he will rise again.
 
The second movement of the Gospel revolves around Jesus’ own definition of greatness asflowing from service as a servant. This is in fact precisely his own role, as he follows hisdestiny up to Jerusalem to die the death of a slave; thus, authentic greatness is in fact basedon the imitation of Christ himself, who for our sake laid aside his divinity that he might put onour humanity, and might In this wise free us from servitude to Satan, to freely serve hisFather as he does. Jesus "sat down" to deliver this teaching; the attitude of a Jewish rabbi,solemnly delivering authoritative teaching to his students. He considers this a cruciallyimportant matter.
 
The third movement of the Gospel naturally moves to a discussion of that humility which isnecessary to approach God. Variant versions of the same can be found at Matthew 10:40;Luke 10:16; and John 13:20, which referred to the reception which should be accorded toChrist's disciples by those to whom they come. In the ancient world, children are peoplewithout power, and of little account generally speaking; therefore, the humility with which thedisciples serve the those who are littlest end of least importance in the world are rewardedwith the presence of Christ himself, and of his Father (and the presence of these twonecessarily implies the presence also of the Holy Spirit); as the present gift for those whoembrace this humility and wisdom, in imitation of Christ, the servant of all, is the possessionof the indwelling Trinity itself. Those who are our Christ's apostles and leaders within HolyChurch must receive the lowliest and least marginalized member of the community as Christhimself, if they wish in fact to dwell with Christ.3.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
 
 
CIC 479
:At the time appointed by God, the only Son of the Father, the eternal Word, that is,the Word and substantial Image of the Father, became incarnate; without losing his divinenature he has assumed human nature. 
 
CIC 557
: "When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go toJerusalem."
 
By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to diethere. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading towardJerusalem, Jesus says: "It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem."
 
CIC 1825
: Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies."
 
The Lord asks us tolove as he does, even our
enemies 
, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away,and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity is patient andkind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on
 
its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in theright. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
 
(
1Cor 
13:4-7).
CIC 2737
: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on yourpassions."
26
If we ask with a divided heart, we are "adulterers";
27
God cannot answer us,for he desires our well-being, our life. "Or do you suppose that it is in vain that thescripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us?'"
28
 That our God is "jealous" for us is the sign of how true his love is. If we enter into thedesire of his Spirit, we shall be heard. …4.
Patristic Commentary
 
 
Bede the Venerable: 
This ignorance of the disciples proceeds not so much from slowness ofintellect, as from love for the Savior, for they were as yet carnal, and ignorant of the mysteryof the cross, they could not therefore believe that He whom they had recognized as the trueGod, was about to die; being accustomed then to hear Him often talk in figures, and shrinkingfrom the events of His death, they would have it that something was conveyed figuratively inthose things, which He spoke openly concerning His betrayal and passion. It goes on: "Andthey came to Capernaum."
 
Theophylact 
: For His wish is not that we should usurp for ourselves chief places, but that weshould attain to lofty heights by lowliness. He next admonishes them by the example of achild's innocence. Wherefore there follows, "And He took [p. 182] a child, and set him in themidst of them."
 
Bede the Venerable: 
By which, He either simply shews that those who would become greatermust receive the poor of Christ in honor of Him, or He would persuade them to be in malicechildren, to keep simplicity without arrogance, charity without envy, devotedness withoutanger. Again, by taking the child into His arms, He implies that the lowly are worthy of hisembrace and love. He adds also, "In My name," that they might, with the fixed purpose ofreason, follow for His name's sake that mould of virtue to which the child keeps, with naturefor his guide. And because He taught that He Himself was received in children, lest it shouldbe thought that there was nothing in Him but what was seen, He added, "And whosoevershall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me.;" thus wishing that we shouldbelieve Him to be of the same nature and of equal greatness with His Father.
 
St. Gregory of Nyssa ( On the Christian Mode of Life 8.1)
Let vanity be unknown among you.Let simplicity and harmony and a guileless attitude weld the community together. Let eachremind himself that he is not only subordinate to the brother at his side, but to all. If heknows this, he will truly be a disciple of Christ.
 
The Shepherd of Hermes 3.9.29: 
They are as a veritable infants, whose hearts do not inventevil, who hardly know what corruption is, and who have remained a childlike forever. Peoplesuch as these, therefore, undoubtedly dwell in the kingdom of God, because they in no wayto file God's commandments, but have continued in innocence all the days of their lives in thesame state of mind.5.
Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars
 

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