25th Sunday Ordinary Time

All throughout the Gospel of Mark, we are presented with a gradual revelation of Jesus as Messiah. Mark presents Jesus’ divine identity in various ways. Mark has Jesus fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah by healing the blind, the deaf, the mute, the lame, and eventually raising the dead. Mark has the members of the crowd or the Jewish leaders ask the question, “who is this?” This is their response to Jesus – especially when He forgives sins (which is something only God can do.) Mark sets up the answer for us. Jesus does what only God can do because Jesus IS God.

In today’s Gospel from Mark, we hear Jesus clearly lay out the plan of salvation. He tells the Apostles that the Son of Man will be handed over to evil men and be put to death and will rise in three days. The Apostles are confused and upset. This is not the plan that they had in mind. They thought that the Messiah would get rid of the Romans and establish a new Jewish kingdom on earth greater even than that of King David.

Once again the Apostles (before receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost) are very limited in their understanding of how God works. They want God to work according to their plans. They did not want any kind of trail or suffering. They wanted glory and power.

Jesus understands their thoughts. Jesus takes a child and says we must become like this child. What does Jesus mean by doing this? In the days of Jesus a child was completely dependent upon its parents. Moreover a child’s identity completely came from its family – from its father in particular. So Jesus is sending a clear message that we must be dependent upon God our Father. We must allow God‘s will to be greater than our own. We must be open to God‘s plan for us because in the end it’s a matter of trust in God. Jesus warns us not to think in terms of power and self-promotion. He tells us we must serve others. That’s true greatness.

IN our Scripture today, Saint James tells us certain things can get in the way of God’s plan. Saint James warns us that uncontrolled passions and desires can lead us astray. Things such as jealousy and selfish ambition can bring a disorder to our life. We should seek, we should strive to have purity, gentleness compliance and be grounded in God’s peace. These are the things that keep us aligned with God’s Spirit.

So today let us pray that we may humbly trust God. That we may acknowledge God‘s love and care for us. May we understand that God has a plan for us and may we be open to it even if we do not understand every aspect. May we set aside selfish ambition and jealousy. And may we look to one another with eyes eager to serve, eager to care. May we truly receive everyone in the same way we would receive the Lord.

First Reading
Wis 2:12, 17-20

Let us condemn him to a shameful death.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

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
Ps 54:3-4, 5, 6 and 8

R. :

℟. (6b) 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.

℟. The Lord upholds my life.

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

℟. The Lord upholds my life.

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.

℟. The Lord upholds my life.

Second Reading
Jas 3:16-4:3

The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

A reading from the Letter of Saint James

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.

Acclamation before the Gospel
Cf. 2 Thes 2:14

℟. Alleluia, alleluia.

God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

℟. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mk 9:30-37

The Son of Man is to be handed over … Whoever wishes to be first will be the servant of all.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

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 the 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.”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

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