Reflection: Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Wis.2:12,17-20; Ps.53; 2nd Reading – Jm.3:16-4:3; Gospel – Mk.9:30-37]

It seems that it was quite common for the disciples not to understand Jesus. We are told that they were afraid to ask him what was he trying to say. A question comes to our mind: What is it that they did not understand? Was it the fact that the Son of Man had to suffer and die? Was it the fact that after three days He was to rise again? Or was it the combination of the two together? We imagine that the disciples knew what was written in the Old Testament Books about the “Suffering Servant”… We imagine that they also knew that in the Old Testament, the intervention of God with all His might and power is expressed by the phrase “on the third Day”… On the one hand, being His disciples, they had the experience of Jesus as an awesome extraordinary man… but still, this extraordinary man with extraordinary “divine powers” was there in front of them, in flesh and bones… a seemingly normal man.

On the other hand it seems that Jesus too was conscious of their problem to understand Him.  We are in fact told that while Jesus was instructing his disciples, he “did not want anyone to know”. He was teaching them something that would be hard for them to understand, and unless they understood it, they could not transmit it to others. Hence the insistence of Jesus to keep his teaching to themselves for the time being. At the same time, Jesus was also preparing his disciples for that particular moment when He was to be taken away from them… (through death) and to be given back to them… (through the Resurrection). It was important for them to understand it before it happened, because they were to be the witnesses and it was to be the source of all their future preaching about Jesus’ death and Resurrection – God’s way of showing us the immense love that He has for us. (By the way, Jesus always talked about his death and Resurrection together!!!)

So what did they have to do to understand what Jesus was trying to say?

We are told that during the way, they were arguing who was the greatest among them.  Therefore what Jesus had just been saying slipped out of their minds. In fact we are specifically told that they did not understand Him and were afraid to ask Him. So once again, to help them understand, Jesus had to explain through an example – a little child. We are told that Jesus put his arms around the little child. It is the gesture of acceptance and love. Children are those who let themselves go in the hands of those who take care of them.  They accept and love those who care for them because they know/feel they are accepted and loved by them. Usually “little children” are those who have no problems as long as those who love them are near. And they also exchange signs of love to the “adults” who show them love and acceptance.

If we want to understand the Lord, are we ready to let ourselves go into His hands, and therefore into the hands of the Father?

Lord, sometimes we do not understand your word. At the same time we are not always ready to turn to you and ask you to explain it to us because we are afraid. Then we do other things that put our minds astray. Lord, give us the little child’s nature, to depend on your love and care.  Thank You Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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