Introduction: our eighth ‘Lectio Divina’ follows the topic of the previous month, from the same Gospel of Mark 9:30-37. This text deals with the continues attempt of Jesus to clear the minds of his disciples’ vision of the Messiah and the true discipleship.
Open our hearts and minds
to understand and see all that
your Son Jesus does and says
to us in our daily life;
do not permit us to harden our hearts.
- Read the Gospel of Mark 9:30-37, read it slowly and listen attentively to the scriptures with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- Reflect: read the passage again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- Respond: read the passage again but this time responds spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this passage lead me to ask for from the Lord?
- Stay with the Word: read the passage a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?%.
- Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word lead you action.
Concluding your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Introduction: Mk 9:30-37, is the continuation of our previous reflection (cf. Mk 8:31-34) which we would focus our attention on the Jesus’ attempt of clarifying and challenge the disciple’s vision of the Messiah and discipleship as he teaches and announces for the second time his passion.
Central Message: Jesus was instructing his disciples… ‘The Son of Man (the Messiah) will be handed over and put to death and three days after will rise again’. They did not understand…but they were arguing who was the greatest.
a) ‘The Son of Man will be handed over and put to death and three days after will rise again’,
Jesus instructs his disciples about the cross and the whole ordeal of his suffering. As a good teacher he quotes the text of Isaiah who prophesied the death and suffering of the Servant of God, the Messiah (read this text to understand better what Jesus meant: Is 53, 1-10). So when the disciples heard this, like in the first announcement (Mk 8, 32), they do not understand what he was talking about and they did not ask for any clarification, perhaps they are afraid to show their ignorance or maybe they were not ready to accept the cross as the condition to be a disciple of Jesus. Fear continues to be the main factor of their blindness and the incapacity to understand Jesus.
b) ‘They were arguing who was the greatest’
It is sad to hear the behaviour and incoherence of the disciples, while Jesus announces his horrific death he will suffer, they were arguing who was the greatest. They did miss totally the point of Jesus’ teaching because they continue to dream in the Glorious Messiah of whom is impossible to think of any suffering at all. That is a big temptation for them to try to avoid suffering, pain, rejection, etc. That is why Jesus rebuked Peter saying ‘Behind me Satan’ he wanted Jesus to change the course of his fate which implied the failure to accomplish Mission: the salvation of the world through his dead on the Cross. It is clear then that they have their own personal interest in the ‘Company’ of Jesus, to have a status, an influential position in society, power and prestige all at the cost of Jesus… This attitude still exists today in our world, the ambition for a position at the cost of our Lord. This is not what Jesus was about, instead, he teaches them that ‘anyone who wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all’… for the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mr 10:45). His words do not remain only as good teaching but they became real and that is what Jesus expects from his disciples. The power and the glory come only when one assumes the role of a servant.
c) ‘Then He took a little child, set him in front of them’.
Anyone who has the same attitude of the disciples, as pointed out above, would only think of his/her power to dominate and to oppress people, especially the powerless and the most vulnerable people in our world, the little ones. So Jesus challenged them saying: “Anyone who welcomes a little child such as this in my name welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me”. Jesus identifies himself with the little ones, he gives them importance and gives back their dignity.
Some questions for our reflexion:
- What does Jesus’ teaching tell me in my own situation?
- Up to now what would be my main motivation to follow Jesus?
- The invitation to follow Jesus is given to all, how would you take it?