Introduction: Today we hear James warn against selfish ambition, while the disciples quarrel over which one of them is the greatest. Jesus tells them the way to be great is to serve. Then, to make it concrete, he puts in front of them an actual flesh-and-blood child. We are called to welcome the particular children God puts in front of us, to make room for them in daily interaction, and to give them a place of honor in the assembly.
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The Lessons: (Link to the Readings)
First Reading: Jeremiah 11:18-20
Today’s reading tells of the suffering of the prophet Jeremiah, who announced God’s word to Judah but was met with intense opposition and persecution. Jeremiah continues to trust in God in the midst of his suffering.
Psalm: Psalm 54
God is my helper; it is the Lord who sustains my life. (Ps. 54:4)
Second Reading: James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a
The wisdom God gives unites our hearts and minds. Instead of living to satisfy our own wants and desires, we manifest this wisdom in peace, gentleness, mercy, and impartiality toward others.
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
Jesus’ teaching and action in this text are directed to the church whenever it is seduced by the world’s definition of greatness: prestige, power, influence, and money. The antidote to such a concern for greatness is servanthood.
O God, our teacher and guide, you draw us to yourself and welcome us as beloved children. Help us to lay aside all envy and selfish ambition, that we may walk in your ways of wisdom and understanding as servants of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.