Theme: WE ARE TO BE THE LAST OF ALL AND THE SERVANT OF ALL AND WE ARE TO SERVE THE LEAST OF ALL AND THE LAST OF ALL
- Wisdom 2:12. 17-20;
- Psalm 53 (54): 3-6. 8. R/ v. 6;
- James 3:16-4:3
- Mark 9:30-37
Today is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today tells us that we are to be the last of all and the servant of all, and we are to serve the least of all and the last of all!
The gospel today tells us that Jesus predicted his Passion for a second time, that is, he was to be delivered into the hands of men and they will put him to death, but he will rise again on the third day! But the disciples still did not understand, though Jesus predicted his passion for a second time!
In fact, the disciples were arguing amongst themselves as to who was the greatest! Jesus then called them together and taught them that in order to be first one must be the last of all and the servant of all!
Jesus then took a child and put him in front of them and taught them that whoever welcomes a child welcomes him and whoever welcomes him welcomes the one who sent him! A child is a symbol of the lowly, the poor, the weak, the helpless, the vulnerable, etc. (CSB; NJBC; IBC), that is, the least and the last!
Thus the gospel today tells us that we are to be the last of all and the servant of all, and we are to serve the least of all and the last of all!
Who are the last of all and the servant of all in our parish? Do we serve the least of all and the last of all? Who are the least of all and the last of all in our parish; the poor, the sinners, the sick, the aged, the children, the migrants, etc.?
As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary (Ruby Anniversary) of our Catholic Women’s Apostolate (CWA) today, whose motto is our Bishop Julius’ motto: “to serve with God’s love”; let us ask ourselves if our Catholic Women’s Apostolate are the last of all and the servant of all and serve the least of all and the last of all, that is, the poor, the aged, the sick, the migrants, the children, the youths, the sinners, etc.!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is based on the fourth of four Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah. (Is 52:13-53:12; HCSB) The first generations of Christians and a number of the Fathers of the Church see in this first reading the prophecy of the Passion of Jesus Christ! (CSB; NJB)
Thus we read in the first reading:
“If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies. Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put his endurance to the proof. Let us condemn him to a shameful death since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.” (Ws 2: 18-20; SM)
The first reading is reflected in the gospel of Mathew 27:41-44 (CSB), especially in Matthew 27:43 where the crucified Jesus was mocked by the chief priests, the scribes and the elders (NJB):
“He has put his trust in God; now let God rescue him if he wants him. For he did say, ‘I am God’s son.’”
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God will deliver him from death! (Fuller) Thus the response of the responsible psalm:
“The Lord upholds my life.” (Ps 53 (54): 6; SM)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a prayer for deliverance. The third stanza tells us that God will deliver him from death and he will thank God for his deliverance! (CSB; HCSB) Thus we read in the third stanza from which the response is taken:
“But I have God for my help. The Lord upholds my life. I will sacrifice to you with willing heart and praise your name for it is good.” (Ps 53 (54): 6 &8; SM)
The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again the second reading has something important to tell us. The first paragraph of the second reading tells us about true wisdom and false wisdom, that is, heavenly wisdom and earthly wisdom.
Earthly wisdom brings about jealousy, selfishness/ambition, disunity and evil works; but heavenly wisdom brings about peace, mercy, good works and justice/righteousness!
The first paragraph of the second reading belongs to chapter 3 of the letter of St James, but the second paragraph belongs to chapter 4.
Today we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ who suffered, died and rose from the dead for our salvation; and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may become the last of all and the servant of all and so that we will serve the least of all and the last of all! We also ask God to give us the true wisdom from heaven so that we may bring about peace, mercy, good works and righteousness/justice in our Church and in our world! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.