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September 19, 1997     The Message
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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana September 19, : A lesson in hum By FR. DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for September 21, 1997: Twenty- Fifth Sunday: Ordinary Time: Cycle B: Mark 9:30-37 Chapter nine of Mark continues a series of por- trayals of the disciples as inadequate to the task to which they have been called by Jesus. He repeated- ly corrects them. Mark begins with his version of the transfiguration. Peter is cast in a negative role in this episode. Mark notes that Peter "didn't know what he was saying." Jesus comes down from the mountain only to find his disciples failing in an attempt to cast out a demon. Even though Jesus had given them authority over demons, he had to finish the job himself. He tells them the reason for their failure, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer." Today's gospel begins at this point with Jesus' second prediction of his suffering, death, and resur- rection. Mark writes of the disciples, "They did not understand the saying and were afraid to ask him." Another failure. There are three passion predictions in Mark. Each one of the three is followed by some incident depicting the failure of one or more of Jesus' disciples. After the first prediction Peter pulls Jesus aside and rebukes him for such statements. Jesus in turn vehemently rebukes Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are not on the side of God but of men." After the second prediction, which is thi Sunday's gospel, the disciples argue about who is the greatest among them. Jesus corrects them. After the third pas- sion prediction James and John come to Jesus with requests for the most powerful posts in his kingdom. They also have to be corrected by Jesus. What are we to learn from the disciples' reaction to Jesus' predictions of his suffering, death, resurrec- tion? It was the suffering and death of Jesus that they rejected. They were unable to accept this kind of Mes- siah. They are portrayed as thinking of Jesus as a political-religious king who would restore the glory of the kingdom of David. Thus when Jesus enters Jerusalem the people cry out, "Blessed is the king- dom of our father David that is coming!" Such a king, such a kingdom, such a messiah were not to be. Instead Mark teaches the most profound lesson of all the gospels, that true power lies only in humility, in following the same path walked by Jesus. Even the Gospel of John with its mostly glorious and tri- umphant portrayal of Jesus will have this to say, "Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit .... If anyone serves me, that person must fol- low me, and where I am, there my servant shall be also." To which we might add, "not only in glory but first through subjection and the suffering that results from the human condition." We should not blame the disciples of Jesus for their lack of understanding. How many of us willing- ly accept the role of servant, of being used, of others lording it over us and controlling our lives? At the time when such things happen to us we feel angry, frustrated, powerless, seething. It is only later through the grace of God and in imitation of Jesus the servant that we are content to follow in his footsteps. - It is the same with unavoidable suffering. Who of us does not complain when becoming sick? "Why me?" is the usual response. So we are exactly like the disci- ples who could not understand a Jesus, a messiah subjected to others and suffering. To help themselves and the whole Christian community they turned to the Old Testament. In Isaiah they found the Songs of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh who gives his life for his people and is then and only then vindicated by God and "lifted up." This helped them and us stand God's plan for Jesus and for us. The "why" we do not understand. We can only accept the fact revelation. To illustrate Jesus' correction of his disciples tion to the second prediction of his suffering and death, Mark chose this story. They come to the where they were staying. Jesus asks them were arguing en route. There is an embarrassing silence because they were discussing who was #1 among them. They seem to have picked up on the word "resurrection" in Jesus' passion prediction. led them to argue about who was to be #1 in the future kingdom. Jesus however knows what they argued about and responds, "If any one wants first, that person must be last and the servant of all, Then an illustration: Jesus puts a child in the center the group, takes the child in his arms, and says, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me." We can be certain that whatever Mark places his gospel responds in some way t( Christian community for which he is writing and, through God's providence, to Christians today. Because of other sayings and episodes in the we may conclude that there were ambitious men struggling for power and domination in the early Christian Churches. Thus Mark's response passion prediction, "They did not understand the saying and were afraid to ask." The child placed in! the center of the ambitious disciples and Jesus' embrace of the child has two lessons. Become as and defenseless as a child. Serve those whom called to serve as a parent takes care of a child, not with ambition but with love. Readings: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20; James 3:164:3. CORRESSELL, HEATING. AIR REFRIGERATION Commercial. Industrial - Alan Corressell Count on us any time of day 1314 Grand Washington, Indiana (s12) Peop.les I rusI Gem SOUTH MAIN P.O. BOX 191 LINTON, Special Jubilarlans Bernard and Evelyn (Smock) Schneider of Evansville celebrat- ed their sixtieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanks- giving Sept. 2 at Holy Redeemer Church, Evansville. Their daughters hosted a family dinner at Sirloin Steak House. They were married Sept. 2, 1937, at St. Anthony Church, Evansville. They are the parents of tlve children: Marcia Goedde of Haub- stadt, Pat Martin and Carol Bailey, both of Evansville, Judy Folz of SL Philip, and Kathy Mitchell of Evansville. They have 19 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren. Mr. Schneider retired from irlpool in !978. , .......................... Spedal Jubilarians Ralph and Lucille (Hurst) Schneider of Jasper will celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at SL Joseph Church, Jasper. They were married SepL 28,1937, at SL Mary Church, Ireland. They are the parents of four children: James who is deceased, Donald of Salida, Calif., and Charles and Stanley, both of Jasper. They have eight grand- children, and four great-grandchildren. Mr. Schneider is retired superintendent of Indiana Chair Co. 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