September 19, 2009


25th Sunday - B
Mark 9:30-37

A Patient and Forgiving Teacher

For 2 weeks in a row, we hear from Mark's Gospel of the disciples' failure to understand Jesus. They just don't get it.

First, Peter shows that they are stuck in their own idea of who Jesus is (last week's Gospel, Mark 8:27-35). He gives the right answer, but not knowing what it means.

Now, as Jesus for the second time tells them that he will "be handed over" and be killed, the disciples do not "understand the saying, and they [are] afraid to question him" (9:31-32). Consequently, they think of the journey to Jerusalem with Jesus as a victory march, and there, the Messiah will establish his earthly reign. So, they turn around and fight over their places in that earthly kingdom (9:34). [1]

And in response, Jesus tries once more to teach and explain to them his mission and their call to follow his example. Knowing his disciples and their struggles, he now focuses all his attention on them. Thus, "he [does] not wish anyone to know " their whereabout (9:30). Then, once in the privacy of the house, he sits down and teaches them (9:35).

We, as disciples of Jesus, also have his patience and his love to count on when we fail.

[1] Francis J. Moloney. The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002; p. 188.

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