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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

1st Reading (Wis 2:12.17-20): The wicked say: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.
Responsorial Psalm: 53
R/. The Lord upholds my life.
O God, by your name save me, and by your might defend my cause. O God, hear my prayer; hearken to the words of my mouth.

For the haughty men have risen up against me, the ruthless seek my life; they set not God before their eyes.

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life. Freely will I offer you sacrifice; I will praise your name, o Lord, for its goodness.
2nd Reading (Jas 3:16—4:3): Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. 2Thess 2:14): Alleluia. God has called us through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 9:30-37): Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”

Fr. Pedro-José YNARAJA i Díaz (El Montanyà, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel explains when Jesus was walking with his disciples, skirting towns, through a great plain. Nothing better to get to know each other than walking and traveling in company. Thus, a feeling of trust is easily built, and trust brings confidence. And confidence transmits love. And love dazzles and surprises us when we discover the mystery hiding in the most intimate part of the human heart. With emotion, the Master speaks to his disciples about the mystery that gnaws at his heart. Sometimes, it is illusion; at times, when thinking it over, He is afraid; most of the time He knows they will not understand him. But they are his friends, He must transmit to them whatever He has received from the Father, and, so far, He has done so. They do not understand him, but when He speaks to them, which means love, they tune in with his emotion, an evidence that, even if they are so insignificant, they rely on Him to succeed in his project. He will be delivered into human hands, He will be killed and three days after He will rise (cf. Mk 9:31)

Death and resurrection. These will be enigmatic concepts for some; unacceptable axioms, for others. He has come to reveal them, to proclaim that the joyous consummation for mankind has already come, although to make it come true, He, the friend the elder brother, the Son of the Father, will have to endure the cruelest suffering. But, what a sad paradox that, while He lives this intimate tragedy, his disciples are debating who will climb on top of the champions' podium when they reach the end of their race towards the Kingdom. But, would we behave in a different way? He who is free from personal ambition is to throw the first stone.

Jesus proclaims new values. To win is not the important thing, but to serve; He will fully prove it at the culminant point of his evangelization by washing his disciples' feet. Man's greatness lies not in the sage wisdom, but in the innocent naivety of the child. “Even though you would know the whole Bible and all the sentences of every philosopher by heart, what would be its value without the charity and the grace of God?” (Thomas de Kempis). By saluting the sage we satisfy our vanity, by embracing the child we embrace God and we become spiritually infused by Him, by becoming more godlike.