TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus again predict his passion, death, and Resurrection to his disciples while journey through Galilee. In predicting his passion, Jesus is acknowledging the danger they will face and is trying to prepare his disciples for it. The disciples listen, but they do not understand. Yet they do not ask for explanations.
Aren’t we the same? When Jesus explains his work for us we silently wait and think we understood it all. But we don’t get it. When he requests our eyes for his mission we use our eyes for window shopping, television, video games, lustful images etc. When he requests our hands for his mission we are busy using our hands to collect whatever we can collect for our own selves. Our minds are busy about thinking only ourselves, etc. But we have crosses around our necks, in our vehicles, our homes, work places etc. Do we venerate it? At least do we think about it? Aren’t we always thinking my position, wealth, power etc. (simply “who was the greatest”) as they did in today’s gospel?
Jesus gave us the answer. “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” He stressed one main point. The use of power is not to ascend or rule, but to descend and serve. There is no doubt that many of us have difficulties in accepting this view. In the family whom do we regard as first? Who is the one who serves the family? Parents? Children? Will parents dominate or manipulate children or treat them with love? Same question can ask from children. Will children treat parents with love or treat them as “old school folks”? Where do we stand? Same theory will apply to work place, parish etc.
Jesus then calls forward a child and teaches the Twelve that to receive a child in Jesus’ name is to receive both Jesus and the One who sent him. We might easily fail to understand the significance of this action. In first-century Palestine, children were without status or power, possessing no legal rights (not like 21st century North American Child) . In this action, Jesus is teaching his disciples and us that when we serve the least ones among us, we serve Jesus himself. Who are the people without power or status in our society that Jesus is calling us to serve?
This would be all those in our society who are powerless and easily manipulated, who are easily abused, neglected and marginalized. The poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the immigrant…
Can we accept them so willingly? Then we can accept Jesus.