Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why do we forget?

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
September 17, 2012

Mark 9:30-37

On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus goes on instructing his disciples about the end that awaits him. He stresses once again that he will be delivered up to men and that they will kill him, but God will resurrect him. Mark says that "they did not understand him, and they were afraid to question him." These words foretell the poverty of Christians of all times. We don't understand Jesus and are afraid to delve into his message.

On arriving at Capernaum, Jesus asks them, "What were you arguing about on the way?". The disciples are quiet. They're ashamed. Mark tells us that along the way, they had been arguing about who was the greatest. Certainly it's embarrassing to see the Crucified One closely accompanied by a group of disciples full of stupid ambitions. What do we argue about in the Church today while we say we're following Jesus?

Once home, Jesus prepares himself to give them a teaching. They need it. These are his first words: "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." In the group that follows Jesus, whoever wants to stand out and be better than others, has to put himself last, behind everyone, so he will be able to see what they need and be able to be the servant of all.

True greatness lies in serving. For Jesus, the first is not the one in a position of importance, but the one who lives serving and helping others. The first in the Church are not the hierarchs but those simple people who live helping those they meet along their way. We mustn't forget it.

For Jesus, his church should be a place where everyone thinks about others. A community where we're attentive to whoever might need us. It isn't Jesus' dream. For him, it's so important that he's going to give them a graphic example.

First of all, he brings a child near and places him in the midst of everybody so that they will fix their attention on him. That child, symbol of the weak and helpless, of those who need to be supported, defended, and welcomed, must always be at the center of the apostolic Church. They must not be outside, near the door. They must be the center of our attention.

Then, Jesus embraces the child. He wants the disciples to always remember him like this. Identified with the weak. Meanwhile he tells them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives the One who sent me."

Jesus' teaching is clear: the way to receive God is to receive His Son Jesus present in the little ones, the powerless, the poor, and the helpless. Why do we forget it so often?

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