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Twenty Fifth Sunday of Year B

Sunday, 20 September, 2015
Mark 9:30-37

‘Consider that to be for your real good which brings you to your goal, and that to be bad which cuts you of from this goal. Prosperity and adversity, riches and poverty, health and sickness, honour and shame, life and death should not be sought after for themselves by the wise person nor are they to be avoided for themselves. If they contribute to the glory of God and your eternal happiness, they are good and to be sought after; if they are obstacles to this, they are evil and to be avoided’ (St. Robert Bellarmine).

In today’s gospel we hear Jesus instructing his disciples that they are called to be servants of all. Right now many nations in Europe and beyond are agonizing over how best to care for thousands of refugees arriving on their doorsteps. The words that Jesus spoke to his disciples about the call to service continue to echo in our day. The starting point for the followers of Jesus is faith. They have experienced the care of God through the healing and teaching of Jesus. The service that Jesus calls for is one that brings the disciples and all those they serve closer to their goal, closer to God. The gospel lets us see Jesus leading by example in the way that he responds to the little child before him. Service includes welcome, blessing, care.

The least of the little ones is welcomed with joy. Service of the little ones is service of the Lord himself, Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me. In a society where the child did not have much influence or power Jesus offers the service of enthusiastic acceptance and welcome. For him the child is of great value.
Service is blessing. Blessing enables its recipients to be fully alive, grateful for what has been given and generous in sharing with others. W.B. Yeats was very excited by the discovery of blessing in his life:
My fiftieth year come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and an empty cup
On a marble table top.
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed so great my happiness
That I was blessed and could bless.   (W.B. Yeats – Vacillation).
Service involves care, commitment, responsibility. The child that Jesus welcomed was in need of long-term support. This is also true of refugees who will soon be coming to our shores. Service involves many services.


For prayer: 

Does the service I provide bring people closer to the Lord ?
How am I blessed by the welcome, care and commitment of others ?