The Word Among Us

Mass Reading & Meditation for September 19, 2021 View another date

Meditation: Mark 9:30-37

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Entrance Antiphon

I am the salvation of the people, says the Lord.
Should they cry to me in any distress,
I will hear them, and I will be their Lord for ever.


(When it is prescribed, this hymn is either said or sung:)

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.



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Daily Meditation: Mark 9:30-37

Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me. (Mark 9:37)

The disciples were caught red-handed, and they knew it. Jesus had asked them what they were arguing about, and they had no choice but to tell him: they were caught up in a heated debate about which of them was the greatest disciple. In reply, Jesus told them to focus on being servants, not on becoming great. This probably wasn’t the first time he had said something like this to them, and it surely wouldn’t be the last!

But then instead of going deeper into his teaching about serving, he pivoted to the theme of receiving a child in his name. So why did Jesus change the subject?

He didn’t. He just had a different definition of service than the disciples did—and probably a different definition than we do. Like the disciples, we might think of service in terms of quantity and impact. But that’s not how Jesus sees it. If you lead a Bible study with fifty people and your neighbor leads one with five people, that doesn’t necessarily make you a better servant. If you are spending all your free time helping out in numerous parish ministries and your neighbor is able to give up only one extra hour a week, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re more of a servant.

What makes you a servant? Your willingness to welcome Jesus no matter how he comes to you. If you’re willing to “waste” your time with a child or any other vulnerable person, you’re a servant. If you’re willing to imitate Jesus’ humility as he washed his disciples’ feet, you’re a servant. If you’re willing to imitate his compassion as he stood up for a woman caught in adultery, you’re a servant.

Jesus promised that those who become “the last of all and the servant of all” are the “first” (Mark 9:35). May we all learn how to live in the humility and lowliness of Christ.

“Jesus, give me the heart of a servant. Give me your heart of love.”

Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Psalm 54:3-6, 8
James 3:16–4:3


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