My Dear Friends in Christ,
In our Gospel reading for this Sunday, we hear Jesus explain to the disciples what is to come in His passion, death and resurrection. We know that Jesus as the son of God could have easily eradicated evil from our world; he could have annihilated his enemies. It is a mystery to us that he chose another way. He endured everything the world threw at him, and responded to it with great love, thereby helping us cope with our misery. Though that is admirable, however, it is not enough. So in warning his disciples about his passion, he always adds in his resurrection. In the gospels, there is no passion without resurrection. Suffering and death are linked solidly to life after death. The two are opposite sides of the coin. Evil plays out its role and is finally encompassed by eternal life and joy. God has the last word: divine love conquers all.
It’s a bit ironic that while Jesus was trying to teach the apostles about the deep act of love he was going to express on the cross, they were thinking completely differently. In all true acts of loving, we should always put the one loved at the center and the reward in so doing is the joy experienced in doing just that. According to Jesus all such acts are seen by God as a self-giving to God himself. What a privilege!
At nighttime when reflecting on our day, can you find such acts of love that you may have done? Also, have you yourself received any kindness from anybody? Isn’t it wonderful to believe that these acts have a deeper meaning than what appears on the surface?
The tenderness of Jesus’ love for children is immense. In every adult, there is an inner child, vulnerable, sensitive, playful, and open. Before the world cast its film of familiarity, boredom and cynicism, the child in us was full of wonder. It is only through wonder that that we can experience the glory and the greatness of God.
Many of the great saints retained that capacity for wonder, a delight in creator and creation, an enduring youthfulness. The great Dominican mystic, Meister Eckhardt, joyfully claimed that “my soul is as young as when I was created, aye, much younger. And I tell you, I should be ashamed were she not younger tomorrow than today.”
This passage marks a milestone. Jesus is taking his first step towards Jerusalem and predicts how he will suffer. Though He instructs His disciples, they fail to understand. They fear to ask Him questions. They who were specially chosen as disciples argue about their status, honor and places of prominence.
Lord, we are not dissimilar to the disciples. We too can ignore, reject or tame your gospel call to loving service. Now that we are together, remind us that true greatness is found in humble service of others. Let us notice what little children can teach us about right attitudes.
The trusting nature of a child may have been an invitation to them to trust in Jesus even though the future was unknown. In prayer we can ask for the gift of this sort of trust for our own future.
God, grant us the gift of being child like as our Lord gives us in example in this gospel passage so that we might always love you and come to you with the purest of intentions.
Please remember in your prayers, Charles G. Wissinger (of Johnstown), May 19th, 1937 - September 12th, 2021, Grandfather of Seminarian John Roy.
Have a very blessed week,
Father Mark Groeger is the Parish Administrator of Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.
Prince of Peace