Once again, Jesus challenges his disciples to change their perspective. He had just told them—for the third time—that he would soon be put to death. In Mark’s Gospel, James and John immediately make a request to have special places in God’s kingdom when Jesus rises in glory. How inappropriate! Jesus tries to make them understand how difficult his mission is, then goes on to give a lesson on true leadership: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant” (Mark 10:43). Whereas world leaders lord their authority over others, Jesus announces, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The author of the passage of Isaiah we hear today also tried to change the perspective of his audience. The Israelites had been defeated and sent into exile. Truly their lives were difficult, but Isaiah finds this suffering to be redemptive; “through his suffering, my servant shall justify many” (Isaiah 53:11). Though “tested” in every way (Hebrews 4:15), both Jesus and Isaiah were willing to sacrifice themselves on behalf of others.
What sacrifice are you willing to make in order that others may benefit?READ MORE
Wouldn’t it be great to find the secret to success? To find a formula that would enable you to have fame and fortune, power and respect, good health and great wealth? Solomon, however, preferred the spirit of wisdom instead, extolling it over all these worldly goods. By the “spirit of wisdom” (Wisdom 7:7) he meant the insight that comes from true understanding, the insight that expresses itself in sound judgment. Indeed, with this gift from God, Solomon gained the worldly goods that in that era indicated that he was blessed by God. But Jesus gives us pause. In the Gospel, Jesus shatters a rich man’s hopes telling him that in order to inherit eternal life he needs to sell all he has, give it to the poor, and follow him. This is too much! The word of God, “sharper than any two-edged sword,” leaves him disconsolate (Hebrews 4:12). But then Jesus gives his disciples the secret: “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God” (Mark 10:27). This is the insight Solomon had. All his worldly gains were actually blessings from God. God alone has the power to bless us with those things that have permanence, with those things that will last.
How can you distinguish between those things that are transitory and those that have permanence?READ MORE
Reading I Wisdom 7:7-11 - Solomon and the riches of wisdom
Reading II Hebrews 4:12-13 - God's living word
Gospel Mark 10:17-30 - The danger of riches— Jesus and the rich man
Key Passage Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25)
Adults: How can the pleasures and comforts of this world become barriers to your relationship with God?
Kids: What favorite toy, game, video, etc., of yours would you be willing to share with someone this week?READ MORE
Reading I: Genesis 2:18-24 - Second story of creation, the creation of woman
Reading II: Hebrews 2:9-11 - Jesus' exaltation through abasement
Gospel: Mark 10:2-16 or 10:2-12 - Question of divorce and Jesus blessing the children
Key Passage: Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:15)
Adults: What could keep you from embracing the kingdom of God like a little child?
Kids: How do you feel when you hear the wonderful stories of God's love for you?
Today’s readings allow us to marvel at God’s creation, but also afford us the chance to give thanks that we are all able to participate in it. God’s creation is not solely that long-ago formation of the world. The world continues to be created, specifically we see today, through marriage. Jesus repeats the words of Genesis: “the two shall become one flesh” (Mark 10:8). It is the married partners who co-create this “one flesh,” this unique new entity. From the beginning, in fact, humans participated in the creative event. In the first reading, the man names all the animals that God creates. Later, in order to make a suitable partner for the man, God removes a rib from man in order to create a woman. However, as much as we participate in God’s creative work, Jesus teaches us that it is little children—innocent, powerless, and dependent on adults—who model the way to the kingdom of God. All creation ultimately comes from God, and that includes God’s kingdom. Those who recognize God’s kingdom as a gift and receive it as a child would receive a gift as shown to be worthy of entering it.
How are you to accept God’s gifts as a child would, with wonder and delight?READ MORE