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Gospel reflection

September 23, 2018: Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading: Mark 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 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.”


The apostles must have felt very confused, when Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” They thought they were following a leader, one who conquered their enemies and brought victory to the people. How is it possible that the son of God could be a servant? What did it mean for them, now that Jesus had given them the invitation to do the same? Mark never comments on whether the apostles asked for Jesus to explain. Perhaps the apostles were too embarrassed, after they were talking among themselves, as to who is the greatest among them. What did this all mean?

Throughout Jesus’ ministry he continually turns the status quo upside down. Being a follower of Jesus was not only a challenge for the apostles, but it is a challenge for us. In our world today, we too are asked to struggle with what it means to live as servant to all.


Take some quiet time today and read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5-7). Select one of Jesus’ many challenges to focus your efforts on this week.

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Connie Schnapf

Providence Associate Connie Schnapf is a wife, mother and grandmother. She worked for nearly 30 years as a parish director of religious education. She currently works part time at WNIN Public Radio and TV as their receptionist and continues to offer spiritual direction to others. Connie and her husband live in Newburgh, Indiana.

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