XXV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B – 2021
Last Sunday Jesus spoke to his disciples about his future sufferings and invited us to take our cross and follow him.
Today he teaches us another important lesson about the conditions to follow him, the meaning of taking our cross, the need to be humble, to serve with our own life.
The first reading and the psalm have always the same theme, but today they make a very especial unity. The reading tells us what the sinners are plotting against the just and the psalm is the prayer of the just asking God to protect him/her.
BOOK OF WISDOM
Ø The book of Wisdom was written at the beginning of the last century before Christ.
Ø It is probably the last Old Testament Book to be written.
Ø The author is identified as Solomon to give added stature to the book, but Solomon could not write this book because he lived many centuries before .
Ø The author is a Jew fully acquainted with the Hellenistic culture
Ø He knows the Greek Philosophy. His anthropology is more Greek than Jewish. He knows the teachings of the Greek; man is composed of soul and body.
Ø The human being is immortal, but this immortality is due not to the soul but to justice and righteousness.
Ø Righteousness or justice, being God’s attribute is immortal.
Ø To live a just life is to participate of this eternal quality of God.
FIRST READING – Wisdom 2:12.17-20
Ø The wicked are against the just because his actions and his words denouncing them, their evil actions, make them angry.
Ø He reproaches them:
o Because they transgress the law. Maybe they are teachers of the law who should know better, but so many times, the law is a means to oppress those they should be serving.
o Because they behave in a way, which is contrary to what they have been told in their formation,
o Because they are not responding to their call.
Ø The wicked want to see whether the words and the works of the just are true
Ø If he considers himself the son of God, let us see what happens when we mistreat him, we put him to the test. Will he keep being faithful? Will God defend him as he hopes and says?
Ø If, we did not know that this reading is taken from the Old Testament, we could think that it is the enemies of Jesus who are speaking.
Ø In a sense this is true, we have always heard that the Old Testament is about Jesus. This does not mean that the authors knew about Jesus, but because, being God who inspires the sacred writers the messages have different levels of revelation. The sacred authors speak of situations of their own time, as time goes on, and we reach the time of Jesus, the church discovers the silent presence of Jesus in Scripture.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Ps 54: 3-4.5.6-8
ü 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.
R. 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.
R. 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.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
ü This psalm talks about the conviction of he who trusts unconditionally in the love and goodness of God the Father.
ü The man who shares with us his trust in God, knows that there are some who want to do wrong to him.
ü But he trusts and hopes in the help of his God.
ü And as a consequence of this love he plans to offer to God a sacrifice, and offering of thanksgiving because God has been good to him.
ü What a beautiful psalm! Are these our feelings? Is this our trust?
GOSPEL Mk 9:30-37
v Jesus goes with his disciples from the Decapolis to Caesarea of Philippi.
v This city is at the foot of Mount Hermon, near to the place where the Jordan River begins, and it is very close to the border between Israel and Syria.
v From there Jesus begins to travel around Galilee, and Mark tells us something interesting, he did not want anyone to know.
v On the road he tells them, for the second time, about his future passion, his sufferings.
v Mark says that they did not understand what he was telling them.
v Certainly, they did not understand, because if they had understood, they would not have discussed among themselves, about who was the greatest of all.
v When they are at home Jesus asks them what they were discussing on the way.
v But they do not want to speak about it, in some way, they know that their Teacher does not agree with their ambitions.
v With love and patience, Jesus sits down and speaks to them, to help them understand what does it mean, to be his disciple.
v And using their same discussion he began to say:
o If anyone wishes to be the first, he shall be the last of all, the servant of all.
o He does not tell them that it is wrong to wish to be the first, what is wrong is their interpretation of being the first.
o The first will have to be the last, the servant of all.
o To make this lesson clearer Jesus takes a child, and puts him in the center.
o Why a child? Probably because a child in that society was the last of all. A child did not have a legal status, no voice, he did not count. His existence was always related to an adult: parents, owners, masters. They could make him work or do whatever they wanted with and to him.
o What a good image to help us understand Jesus’ mind, he wants us to be servants and not masters, this is the only way to be his disciple.
o The consequences are clear, but it frightens us, if we have not reached there, if serving in this way is not a real part of our life, if we continue to consider ourselves superiors to others because we go to church and “fulfill” what is prescribed, we have not even started the first steps in the following of Jesus, no matter how long we have been part of the church.
o Jesus gives us one of the most beautiful and, at the same time challenging lessons, we are called to be like him, that, being God like the Father and the Holy Spirit he has made himself servant of all, he has become nothing, he has put himself into our hands.
o But as human beings, do not have any power over Him, we may want to make him disappear from our world, but he will continue to be always with us because he lives forever, because he is God.
o Last Sunday Jesus asked us: who do you say that I am? Who am I for you? Today he asks us: do you understand what it means to serve as I serve? And he asks us something else: Are you ready and willing to follow me as I am showing you?
SECOND READING Jas 3:16-4,3
In his letter James makes a beautiful reflection, which will help us to live up to the invitation, Jesus makes to us in the Gospel.
· Disorder comes from jealousy and selfish ambition.
· On the contrary the wisdom, which comes from above, from God produces other fruits,
· And James describes those fruits with words, which make us desire to live in such a society.
· This is the litany he presents of this way of living: peace, goodness, mercy, good fruits and sincerity.
· He insists on peace as a fruit of this kind of life.
· He asks us: where do wars come from?
· They come from our evil desires, which we cannot satisfy we want to possess for the wrong reasons, and we do not get it, and thus we kill. Remember that we can kill in many different ways. We may kill taking the life of someone, but we may kill also destroying his or her reputation, his/her feelings.
· James ends saying that we ask and we do not get what we ask, because we ask for the wrong reasons, because we ask moved by our selfishness.
· In our daily life, do we cultivate and promote peace or division among ourselves, in our families, in our faith community, at work…?
· This coming Sunday the Lord, through the liturgy of the Church invites us to peace, joy, and happiness. Are we going to follow him?
…no worldly interest has brought me here from Spain. I resisted at the beginning; I insisted in my refusal and the third time I accepted by obedience: I have never had anything; today I see myself vested of a dignity which I repel, and whose weight is very superior to my forces, I continue surrendered in the hands of the Providence. Under the tinsel of my dignity, I only see my misery; I was poor; I lived poor, and I remain poor. Only obedience has been able to reduce me, I repeat it, but in the hope that I could give more fuel to the charity, to the love of God and to my neighbors in which I want to burn. The day I see that they put the slightest stumbling block to my mission; the day I see that they tied my hands to prevent them to do good; or that my voice will not be heard when my expectations be founded in justice and charity, which are the only incentives to work that I acknowledge, that day I will leave my position, and certainly I will lose nothing in relation to my person, because the nature of missionary is enough to be poor, to love God, to love my neighbors and to gain their souls at the same time that mine. St.Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Letter to General de la Concha, March 28, 1851.
CLARET, St. Anthony Mary. History of the Religious of Mary Immaculate Claretian Missionary Sisters, chapter VII note 126.