“The Son of Man will be delivered. If anyone wants to be first,
he must make himself servant of all.”
The tone of the Gospel begins to grow darker: Jesus is now on his way to Jerusalem, where he will be arrested and killed. Despite this, both this week and next week, there is a lighter contrast in the children that Jesus welcomes and blesses. Perhaps this tells us something about Jesus and his mission: despite the gathering clouds, (and possibly even because of that) he is still the manifestation of God’s love for all his children, a love that will be most clearly displayed when he faces that death for our sake. There is one quite chilling phrase which links these together, in the first reading, where the plotters against the good man say “Let us test him with cruelty and torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his.” The cold calculation of this is not far removed from the plotting of those who saw in Jesus a threat to their positions ‑ with all his purity of worship and faith, with all his “reproaches for our breaches of the law”. There is indeed a storm gathering. But the last line of the first reading, though meant mockingly, will come true: “God will look after him ‑ we have his word for it.” And three days after his death he will rise again.
O God, save me by your name; by your power, uphold my cause. O God, hear my prayer; listen to the words of my mouth. For proud men have risen against me, ruthless men seek my life. They have no regard for God. But I have God for my help. The Lord upholds my life. I will sacrifice to you with willing heart and praise your name for it is good.
First Reading: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Second Reading: Js 3: 16—4:3
Gospel Reading: Mark 9: 30-37