Daily Reflection

Learning the Lesson of Humble Service

May 21, 2024 | Tuesday
  • Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time
  • Mark 9:30-37

    James 4:1-10

    Psalm 55:7-8, 9-10a, 10b-11a, 23

    Mark 9:30-37


    Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,

    but he did not wish anyone to know about it.

    He was teaching his disciples and telling them,

    “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men

    and they will kill him,

    and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”

    But they did not understand the saying,

    and they were afraid to question him.


    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.

    For 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.”


    Opening Prayer: Lord God, guide me along the path of humility, service, and simplicity of heart each day. Do not let me succumb to the complicated lies of the devil. Help me to contemplate how your Son was a humble servant and imitate his example.


    Encountering the Word of God


    1. The Three Responses to Jesus’ Prophecies about His Passion: In the Gospel, we return to our sequential reading of the Gospel of Mark. Jesus has begun his final journey to Jerusalem and we read the second of Jesus’ three prophecies about his upcoming Passion. The reactions of the disciples to all three prophecies are important. Earlier, when Jesus told them about what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem as the Son of Man, the disciples recalled that Elijah had to return before the coming of the Son of Man. And Jesus answered them that Elijah did come in the figure of John the Baptist (Mark 9:9-13). Today, the disciples respond to Jesus’ second prophecy (Mark 9:30-32) by arguing who is the greatest among them. This begins Jesus’ teaching on how they are to exercise authority in the Church: they are to be simple (Mark 9:33-37), chaste (Mark 10:1-12), and poor (Mark 10:17-27). When Jesus predicts his passion a third time on the way to Jerusalem (Mark 10:32-34), they will respond by seeking seats of glory beside Jesus (10:35-45).


    2. Lessons Learned: In all three cases, Jesus has to correct the disciples’ understanding of his mission. First, he turns their gaze to the sufferings of John the Baptist. This means that Jesus’ followers must share in his passion. Second, he turns their gaze to the simplicity of children. This means that Jesus’ followers must share in his humility. Third, he turns their gaze to the service of authority. This means that Jesus’ followers must share in his service and self-offering. Suffering, humility, service... these are the characteristics of Jesus’ disciples.


    3. The Path of Humility: In his Letter, James also encourages his readers to grow in humility, for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. God respects our freedom and bestows his grace on those who receive him. The proud cannot welcome God because they have no space for God in their lives. The humble, exemplified by simple children, welcome God with an open embrace. Humility is not an end in itself. The goal in all things is always the glory of God. Those who are truly humble will share in that glory. This is why James, like Mary, the Mother of Jesus, says that the humble will be exalted. In the end, it is an imitation of the life of Jesus Christ who was humbled in his passion and on the Cross. At the same time, the passion and the Cross lead to the glory of the Resurrection from the dead and the Ascension into heaven.


    Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I often resist your call to humility, poverty of spirit, and child-like simplicity. I easily give in to the temptations to pride, thinking that they will bring me happiness and fulfillment. Enlighten my mind to see where I need to grow in true humility today.


    Living the Word of God: As we examine our lives today, we ask God to show us the way of suffering that leads to redemption, the way of humility that leads to the glory of heaven, and the way of service that leads to peace among men.

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