Engaging the Gospel – Mark 9:30-37

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B): Gospel – Mark 9:30-37

This Gospel passage illustrates the problems engendered by selfish pride, as the disciples argue about who is greatest among them.

Pride can give rise to envy of another, which St. Augustine saw as “the diabolical sin” (Catechism 2539).

As St. Ambrose wrote, “Pride transformed angels into demons; humility makes human beings into saints.”

Jesus counsels the disciples to practice humility and self-giving: whoever wants to be first, should be the servant of all.

In this way we will achieve “victory,” but not “in triumphalistic terms,” Benedict XVI explains:

Christ suggests to us a very different road that does not pass through dominance and power. Christ speaks of a victory through suffering love, reciprocal service, help, new hope and practical comfort given to the lowliest, to the forgotten, to the outcast.

For all Christians the loftiest expression of this humble service is Jesus Christ Himself, the total gift that He makes of Himself, the victory of His love over death, on the cross, that shines in the light of Easter morning.

Only if we let ourselves be transformed by God, only if we undertake to convert our life and if the transformation is brought about in the form of conversion, can we share in this transforming ‘victory.’

General Audience of January 18, 2012.

Question for reflection: When is it most difficult to put aside my selfishness?