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AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH!
     
 REFLECTION

This time of year, is one of transition.  The casual rhythms of the summer, often marked by leisure and vacation activities, give way to a new school year and more rigorous schedule.  The Gospel passages from last week and this week hint at a transition for Jesus and his disciples as well.  Jesus tells them that soon he will be handed over to authorities who will kill him but that after three days he would rise.  The days of travelling around Galilee – far from Jerusalem – are ending.  As we anticipate the coming of fall, let us each resolve to carry our own cross through all life’s rhythms, reassured by the promise of resurrection.​

Welcoming the Cross

The first reading today sounds like one of the Psalms that are applied to the story of Christ’s passion or like one of the Servant songs in Isaiah. But in reality, it comes from one of the latest books in the Bible, composed not in Hebrew but in Greek, in Alexandria (and not contained in the original Hebrew Bible). The situation of the righteous man who is insulted, tortured, or executed is one that is not confined to special religious texts; it is a situation that arises at all times. So, the passion and death of Jesus, which he predicts to his disciples for the second time today, is not in itself an extraordinary destiny.

Many people suffer worse and longer torture, detained for years in solitary confinement for example, and more painful and degrading deaths. Many are unjustly condemned and never vindicated, unlike Jesus. That Jesus dies as a martyr is again not something absolutely unique. Many people have been prepared to lay down their lives to resist injustice and oppression. What makes the passion of Christ unique is its saving role, expressed a little further on in Mark’s Gospel in words that may well come from the lips of the historical Jesus himself: “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). Some people today find the idea of the death of Jesus as a saving sacrifice, an atonement, to be objectionable, and it is caricatured MORE…
 

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

“In light of his passion, Jesus calls them to be servants of all

Jesus and his disciples passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 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.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.

He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

 

 
 
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