Reflection for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - September 23, 2018

Author: Megan Malamood

                                                        Reflection for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - September 23, 2018  


            Imagine what it’s like running a race and you’re in first place. You’re hustling, feeling good, because nothing stands between you and the finish line. Your vision is focused; you see no people; it’s really all about you in this moment. Now imagine, or remember, what it’s like holding a child in your arms. That child is utterly dependent on you. You feel the full weight of his or her precious life, and you hold it with all of your attention and care. It is no longer about you, but the beautiful, beloved child you hold in your arms.
            These are two very different images, yet this Sunday’s Gospel gives us both of them to hold. Jesus says, “Anyone who wishes to be first, shall be last,” and “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me.” Wanting to win is not bad – we compete for first place all the time in our lives. Perhaps Jesus is talking about the kind of first place when we lose sight of all those around us though – when we’re so focused on winning that race, that all else falls away and we’re only aware of ourselves. When we hold a child, however, taking care of him or her becomes our good, too. Our good is wrapped up with someone else’s.     
            In the Gospel, Jesus puts his arms around the child in front of him with love. As we strive to follow him, let us pray for trust, knowing that the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to care for and hold others, just like a child. When we do, we are receiving Jesus into our arms, too.   

Gospel: Mark 9: 30-37

            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.”

Hymn: God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending

              Skills and time are ours for pressing, toward the goals of Christ, your Son:
                 All at peace in health and freedom, races joined, the Church made one.
                           Now direct our daily labor, lest we strive for self alone;
                      Born with talents, make us servants fit to answer at your throne.

            Treasure, too, you have entrusted, Gain through powers your grace conferred;
                    Ours to use for home and kindred, And to spread the Gospel Word.
                     Open wide our hands in sharing, As we heed Christ’s ageless call,
                        Healing, teaching, and reclaiming, Serving you by loving all.