25B18. Wisdom 2:12, 17-20. “With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test.” “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” This was written a hundred years before Christ by a Jew who remained loyal to Judaism in spite of being persecuted by Jews who were won over by the Hellenistic (Greek) pagan ways of those who ruled at that time. His circumstances prepare us for the situation that Jesus was to find himself in much later.
Mark 9:30-37. Once again Jesus asserts that he will be killed and three days after he will rise. “But the disciples did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.” In last Sunday’s Gospel Jesus had said, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Emotionally and intellectually they were locked into the human way of thinking. From what I can see, it was only by the grace of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that they were enabled to break free from their humanness and pass over to comprehend things as God does. Jesus could not but notice that, on the way to Capernaum, they had been arguing among themselves. After Jesus questioned them as what they were arguing about, interestingly enough the Gospel says that “they remained silent,” but does not say that anyone told Jesus that they had been discussing “who was the greatest.” Once again Jesus recognizes that they were thinking as human beings do and not as God does. So “he said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’” Human thinking is to take advantage of any situation for one’s own personal gain. God’s thinking is to bring everyone to love as God loves; not to take from everyone so that you yourself have more but to work to the advantage of everyone to have the most for eternity. Placing a child in their midst with his arms around it, Jesus says, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” We are to love everyone, no matter that they have little importance in the eyes of this world but simply to love them as God loves them.
James 3:16-4:3. “Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” When we hand ourselves over to what is not of God, we are on the road to the destruction of ourselves and perhaps of some others around us. What is of God is good through and through; what is not of God will eventually rear its evil head. God is love that gives life; all else leads to annihilation. In John 6:53, “Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” Then in John 6:57, Jesus said, “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” Only the God who first created life can continue to be the source of life for us because life can only come from love, i. e., from God, the only source of true love. Everything that is not from Jesus is a source of death and destruction. Those are our passions. They are not true love. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul writes: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it does not seek its own interest, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”