TUESDAY 7TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME GOSPEL COMMENTARY. “IF ANYONE WISHES TO BE FIRST” (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. For 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.”
COMMENTARY FROM THE NAVARRE BIBLE, ST. MARK (WITH PERMISSION)
Second prophecy of the Passion
- 30-32 Although moved when he sees the crowds like sheep without a shepherd (Mt 9:36), Jesus leaves them, to devote time to careful instruction of the Apostles. He retires with them to out-of-the-way places, and there he explains points of his public preaching which they had not understood (Mt 13:36). Here, specifically, for a second time, he announces his Death and Resurrection.
- In his relationships with souls Jesus acts in the same way: he calls man to be with him in the quiet of prayer and there he teaches him about his more intimate plans and about the more demanding side of the Christian life. Later, like the Apostles, Christians were to spread this teaching to the ends of the earth.
Being the servant of all. Scandal
- 34-35 Jesus uses this argument going on behind his back to teach his disciples about how authority should be exercized in his Church — not by lording it over others, but by serving them. In fulfilling his own mission to found the Church whose Head and supreme Lawgiver he is, he came to serve and not to be served (Mt 20:28).
- Anyone who does not strive to have this attitude of self-forgetful service, not only lacks one of the main pre-requisites for proper exercise of authority but also runs the risk of being motivated by ambition or pride. “To be in charge of an apostolic undertaking demands readiness to suffer everything, from everybody, with infinite charity” (J. Escrivá, The Way, 951).
- 36-37 To demonstrate to his Apostles the obligation and humility needed in their ministry, he takes a child in his arms and explains the meaning of this gesture: if we receive for Christ’s sake those who have little importance in the world’s eyes, it is as if we are embracing Christ himself and the Father who sent him. This little child whom Jesus embraces represents every child in the world, and everyone who is needy, helpless, poor or sick — people who are not naturally attractive.
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