Jesus-Teaches About Status and the “Little Ones”

Mk 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”: 30-37

HOMILY DELIVERED AT OUR LADY OF THE WAYSIDE ARLINGTON HEIGHTS SEPTEMBER 20, 2009

Last week-I got an email from a very proud grandpa and grandma-It was a extra nice birth announcement. Obviously, they were popping their buttons with happiness. The note started like so many: “Parents: Bill and Mary; Grandparents; Ed and Sue,– proudly announce that little Johnny came bouncing into the world at 11:31 September 16, at 7 pounds,1 ounce–a beautiful baby boy. Mom and baby are doing well. Dad too!

The E-mail went on to a surprise ending….”We offer prayers of thanksgiving.  Can we ask a favor? We invite prayers for the family. Johnny was born with Down’s syndrome. They close with….”We all eagerly can’t wait to discover the gifts that Johnny will bring our way.”

These pretty smart Christian Grandparents seem to really, deep down, get the heart Jesus’ gospel message: To meet life’s challenges it will take prayer and focus to keep the game of life simple enough to what to know, and do. Simple, innocent, al about optimism, focus on the “other”

Living the so-called game of living a “good Christian life” can be very daunting. We are taught and reminded the virtues of loving our enemies, forgive the unforgivable, avoid status and power, and be selfless like Jesus. How can you and I avoid the trap that the disciples described in today’s Gospel fell into,- as they argued about who deserved the title of being the greatest?

Jesus in Mark’s very familiar Gospel passage today points to the ideal of the innocence surrounding “little ones”. Jesus tries to help his disciples avoid the too tempting practice of human pride and personal aggression.  Jesus states the rules of the Christian game of life is to live for the other,- as he does. Jesus’ disciples aren’t immune to the sin of pride.

Many of today’s Kids seem to be taught by the global culture to be #1 in everything: first in the class; most likely to succeed; best job; most beautiful or handsome, best clothes, best toys, become the best mom and dad; compete to be the best and the brightest at everything. As Vince Lombardi preaches in the Gospel ethic of sports proclamation, “winning is not everything-winning is the only thing.” Wow!

How do we catch ourselves, in a fiercely competitive and, “status is everything” world of ours?, where lust for power and fear of the other and coveting what the other has, or imposing one’s beliefs- causes constant wars, over and over? How do we like a little child be innocent?

Perhaps we need the invention and aid of a spiritual mechanized Tom Tom Spiritual GPS to guide us and keep us on track?- How do we avoid getting into the rat race game where the ethic is:” He or she that accumulates and dies with the most toys,— wins?  Like a diabetic checks blood sugar level toward health we must find a way to keep on the proper path we seek.

 “A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.” The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy takes the quarters and leaves. “What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!” Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters from the clever barber instead of the dollar bill?” The boy licked his cone and replied, “Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!”

 Yes, I think the parents and grandparents who sent the announcement of good news point the light toward the innocence and hope of the little ones-Assuredly their beautiful attitude and sticking together in prayer points to an optimistic way for all.

 Deacon Don Grossnickle

What game are we grown ups—choosing to play?

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