Kansas City

  Catholic Men's Fellowship

PO Box 26803  Overland ParkKS 66225


Sunday, September 23, 2018

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

Mass Readings:
1st Reading        Wisdom 2:12, 17-20                      

Responsorial:     Psalm 54:3-6, 8
2nd Reading:      James 3:16–4:3                             

Gospel:               Mark 9:30-37

The Son of Man is to be handed over to men. (Mark 9:31)


What a remarkable statement! As he begins his journey to Jerusalem, Jesus tells his disciples—and us—that he will be handed over. He will become passive, powerless in our hands. He will leave it up to us to decide what to do with him. It’s just as the prophet Isaiah had said, “Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

This is a strong contrast to everything we have seen Jesus do so far. From the moment he burst onto the scene, Jesus was at the center of attention—healing people, contending with opponents, calming storms, and multiplying bread. He always took the lead. He always spoke with authority. He was the one shaping the story. But at the cross, where it matters the most? Jesus remained quiet, humble, and vulnerable.

The truth is, this is what Jesus intended all along. He came as God’s gift to us. A gift doesn’t tell the recipient how to use it. He left it up to us to decide how we were going to receive him. We didn’t have to reject him as many of his people did. We didn’t have to deny him as Peter did. We didn’t have to kill him as the Romans did. We could have embraced him and accepted his message of salvation. But we didn’t.

 And still God handed him over. He didn’t take back his gift.

 Even today, God continues to hand Jesus to us. At every Mass, on every altar, in every Communion line, Jesus is placed in our hands as God’s gift of salvation. None of us are worthy to receive him. None of us accept him as fully as we should. But that doesn’t stop him. He still gives himself to sinful men and women. He still offers his salvation to us. Let’s return his gesture and hand ourselves over to him.

“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. Please keep speaking your words to me so that I may be healed.”

 
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion:

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom begins with these words: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. It continues with these words: For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.

  • In what way is the first reading a prophetic foreshadowing of Jesus’ rejection by his own people, and ultimately his passion and death? 
  • In what way does the reading speak of the human tendency to attack and to reject those who “set themselves against our doings”?  What is your reaction when you have been accused unjustly or treated unfairly?


 In the responsorial psalm, the psalmist, in response to the attacks of his enemies, cries out to God in prayer with these words: O God, by your name save me. By your strength defend my cause. O God, hear my prayer. Listen to the words of my mouth. For the haughty men have risen up against me, the ruthless seek my life; they set not God before their eyes.  The psalmist ends his petitions with these words of faith and trust: Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life. Freely will I offer sacrifice; I will praise your name, O Lord, for its goodness.

  • The psalmist turns to God in prayer as the first reaction to a difficult situations? Why is this also important to us?
  • The psalmist ends his time of prayer with thanks and praise to the Lord for his “goodness.” Why is this an appropriate way to end our own times of prayer? Do you? If not, should you?


The second reading opens with these words: Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

  • Why is there such a difference between the “wisdom from above” that comes from God and “jealousy and selfish ambition,” “wars,” and “conflicts” that come from our fallen nature?
  • What examples are there from your own life when you have seen victory over jealousy, envy, and selfish ambition by turning to “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24)?


In the Gospel, Jesus takes his disciples off privately for an important and personal message: 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. He tells them he is to be killed, but he will rise from the dead.  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.

  • Why do you think the disciples were more concerned about which one of them was the greatest, rather than trying to understand what Jesus was telling then about his passion, death, and resurrection?
  • Why do you think self-absorption tends to make us less attentive to what Christ may be telling us?  What steps can you take to be more attentive to Jesus’ words


The meditation is a reflection on these words of Jesus from the Gospel reading: The Son of Man is to be handed over to men (Mark 9:31). The meditation ends with these words: “Even today, God continues to hand Jesus to us. At every Mass, on every altar, in every Communion line, Jesus is placed in our hands as God’s gift of salvation. None of us are worthy to receive him. None of us accept him as fully as we should. But that doesn’t stop him. He still gives himself to sinful men and women. He still offers his salvation to us. Let’s return his gesture and hand ourselves over to him.”

  • The meditation says that “Even today, God continues to hand Jesus to us.” What steps can you take to open yourself to Jesus’ presence each day in prayer, and during the day -- to allow him to transform you more and more into his likeness?
  • How can you open yourself more, at each Mass, to Jesus’ transforming presence in the Eucharist?


Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to receive his transforming presence and healing words each day. Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as the starting point.

            “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. Please keep speaking your words to me so that I may be healed.”