• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Saturday, 22 September 2018 12:34

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 2018

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150According to many Scripture Scholars ninety per cent of what Jesus taught was also taught by other Jewish rabbis.  But there are definitely some teachings that are unique to Jesus: love your enemy, turn the other cheek – no violence, let the greatest among you be the servant of all.  Today’s gospel has two other teachings that are unique to Jesus.  They like the others mentioned are difficult for the Christian Community to live up to.According to many Scripture Scholars ninety per cent of what Jesus taught was also taught by other Jewish rabbis.  But there are definitely some teachings that are unique to Jesus: love your enemy, turn the other cheek – no violence, let the greatest among you be the servant of all.  Today’s gospel has two other teachings that are unique to Jesus.  They like the others mentioned are difficult for the Christian Community to live up to.

The first lesson in today’s gospel is about the mystery of the Cross.  Jesus took his disciples apart and told them what would happen to him – how he would be betrayed and how he would be put to death.  The apostles were confused.  As Mark says, “they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.”

For the most part the consistent teaching of the rabbis was that God rewards good people in their lives with success, wealth, happiness, etc.  So it was important to be good.  On the other hand wicked people suffer.  They do not enjoy success and are deprived of their wealth and happiness.  But it doesn’t always work out that way.  Parts of the Old Testament struggle to explain how bad things can at times happen to good people.  Rabbi Harold Kushner in 1983 wrote a best-selling book entitled When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  He gives many explanations of why this happens, but for Christians none of his explanations fully satisfy.  In the end we are faced with a mystery.  Jesus was a very good person and the Father loved him, and yet bad things happened to him.  This is the mystery of the Cross which we are sometimes challenged to live in our own lives.

Two months after I was ordained I was asked to substitute for a hospital chaplain who went on vacation.  My very first night I visited the Intensive Care Unit.  There was a sixteen year old girl with all kinds of attachments to her body.  She asked: ‘Father, why does God make me suffer like this?’  Fortunately one of the nurses had told me about the girl’s upcoming operation the next day and said there should be no complications.  I told her: “God does not make you suffer; God loves you.  I am sure you will be healed and I will take you for a milkshake across the road before you leave the hospital.”  It was the best I could do; I didn’t think our seminary teaching about the truth of the mystery of the cross would have been helpful.  She reminded me of my promise before she left the hospital and so I treated her to a milkshake.  It helped me to realize how much hope can help us with the cross we have to carry.

The second mystery we are called to live out is one that is not easily understood -- that true greatness does not consist in power, influence, and high esteem.  This is what the apostles were arguing about when they discussed who would be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom.  They possibly were arguing about who would get which portfolio.  But Jesus put a child before them and said that in his kingdom the child would be the greatest, not because of what he or she had but because of who they were..  They would not be people the world – or the Jewish tradition at that time – would see as great people.

My mother had a great devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux (“the Little Flower”), and I guess I inherited it from her.  I read Therese’s autobiography at least twenty times and each time I learned something new about what it means to be a child.  She knew exactly what Jesus was talking about.  An innocent child does not feel the need to dominate others but rather he or she is willing to be dependent on others, often stretching out their hands asking to be picked up.  As a young girl Therese was taken to Paris by her father.  Otis had just recently installed the first lift in one of the tall buildings there.  Her father took her on a trip in the lift.  Later she reflected: one doesn’t have to “climb the ladder of perfection”; one can place oneself in the arms of a loving Father, and the Father will ‘lift’ them to perfection.”  But then one has to be willing to be a child.  This would be the true greatness needed in the Kingdom of God – a complete trust in God.  What a challenging mystery to live up to!