|TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Everlasting Story: Your Story and Mine
First Reading (Wis 2: 12, 17-21):
Evil causes us to lose our reason
Second Reading (Jas 3: 16-4:3): Quarrels come from our selfish desires
.Gospel (Mk 9: 30-37): Second prediction of Passion and Rising; Who
is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
-In the space of a day and night, flowers bloom and die. Between spring
and winter, things perish and are renewed. Beneath the roaring cascade
a deep pool is found: dark valley at the foot of high hills. These things
you know: what more can divination teach you?”(1)
“They went on from there and passed through
Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his
disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human
hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he
will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he was saying and
were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was
in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’
But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another
about who was the greatest. (Mk 9: 30-34)
This time we are not talking about the content of Scripture but rather
what is ‘between the lines,’ that is, the attitudes of Jesus and his
disciples. Jesus ‘did not want anyone
to know’ where he and the disciples were going. He wanted
to be alone with the disciples, away from the noise of the crowds, so
that he could speak to them more deeply and seriously about the great
events which were to take place soon: he would be rejected, betrayed
and undergo his passion. The disciples did not understand and “were
afraid to ask him.”
Isn't this often the reality of our lives? There are some things in
this world we cannot understand, and also things we could understand
but do not want or don't dare to understand. For example, after we have
quarreled with our parents, do we want to understand their feelings?
Do we dare to ask them? Is it that we don't want to know why the two
people in the world who love us the most treat us this way?
When two friends who belong to opposing parties meet, are they interested
to know each other's stance and the reasons behind it? I believe I myself
am honest and sincere, do I admit they can be just as honest and sincere?
Are there not many things in this world that ‘the more we argue the
less we understand’? Why do these things happen? Why is it that two
friends sometimes turn and become enemies? Is one correct and the other
wrong, or are both correct in some areas and mistaken in others?
Jesus liked to use parables to help the people understand more easily.
But he also said that he spoke in parables, “in
order that they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen,
but not understand.” (Mk 4:12) Certainly Jesus did not
use parables to confuse his listeners; he used them to help them understand
more easily. People did not understand because Jesus spoke too plainly;
they didn't understand because they didn't want to accept his teachings.
If they admitted they understood they would need to put his words into
action and change their lives. For those who did not wish to do this,
it was easier not to understand. In the end we must admit we are ‘sinners’
and sin is an obstacle to understanding Truth.
If we really understood the difficulties and patience our parents have
endured, and most of all , their “kindness beyond all bounds,” how could
we not love and obey them? If we do not love and obey them, it can only
be that we do not understand them, or how much they have sacrificed
for us. Some people then justify their thoughts and deeds by deriding
them as ‘old-fashioned,’ senile, etc.
Today's Gospel includes another incident worth noting. Along the road
the disciples had been arguing about who was the greatest. But when
Jesus asked them about the topic of the argument, “they
were silent.” Right, why tell Jesus about their weaknesses?
Isn't this also true to life, something that easily occurs in all of
In a 1988 Vatican document on “Aspects of Religious Education in Catholic
Schools”, in the section on ‘history curriculum’ the text says , ‘The
protagonists in history are human persons themselves. History takes
individual inner struggles between good and evil and enlarges them to
portray the entire world.” (# 58). That is, the ‘History of Humankind’
is only the magnifying of ‘individual history;’ if an individual's history
is a small triangle, the history of humankind is a large triangle. So
the more we learn about our own history, the more we learn about the
history of all humankind and vice versa.
In the Ming Dynasty, Liu Ji wrote these interesting lines in the treatise
‘Divination,’ “In the space of a day and night flowers bloom and die.
Between spring and winter, things perish and are renewed. Beneath the
roaring cascade a deep pool is found: dark valley at the foot of high
hills. These things you know: what more can divination teach you?”(1)
(‘Divination’) Grasp the principles of life and you will understand
life; know life better and you will understand the past and the future.
Why does one need divination?
Broaden that out a bit and we can say that Scripture tells us about
the history of the human race, which is your and my history and the
rules for history and life.
Scripture tells about an everlasting story, which is the story of you
and me. Are we willing to use Scripture as a reflection of ourselves,
providing light for our journey into the future?