Gospel Reflection: Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute



SEPTEMBER 27, 2015

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Your word, O Lord is truth;

Consecrate us in the truth.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Gospel of Saint Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”  Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.  There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.  For whoever is not against us is for us.  Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.  It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”

The Gospel of the Lord



For the last two Sundays we have heard Jesus describing the ultimate outcome of His ministry: The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.

It is within this context of the Lord’s willingness to sacrifice Himself that Jesus continues His essential instruction on the nature of being a true disciple: to be associated with Jesus one must follow in His footsteps, walk in His way, carry his cross.  As we learned last week, Discipleship has nothing to do with seeking positions of prominence or power, but has everything to do with serving little ones who are weak, poor, oppressed and defenseless like little children.  In addition, disciples are not to be jealous and envious of others who perform mighty deeds in the name of Jesus.  The intolerance of John, and most likely the other disciples, demonstrates that they have not yet fully understood the true way of being a disciple of Jesus.

Jesus asserts that the Spirit of God is free to work wherever He wants and through whomever He wants.  It is not the role of the disciple to prevent or inhibit others who are acting in the Lord’s name.  Losing sight of the fundamental teaching of Jesus that true disciples are to be servant disciples can quickly allow the evil of competition and control to seep into a community and ministry.  It is God who acts and disciples are called to be instruments in God’s hands.

In bold strokes, this Sunday’s Gospel continues to reveal the intensity of Jesus’ teaching on discipleship.   Through the power of Baptism disciples must be always and everywhere the sacramental presence of Jesus in the world.  Something as simple as giving a cup of water in the name of Jesus does not go unnoticed by the Eternal Father.  Every action done in the name of Jesus is a holy action!

Likewise, any deviation from the way of Jesus especially bad example that would lead a little one to sin is evilit would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.  If that statement does not create within every disciple self examination and caution, nothing will.  Yet, Christ provides each disciple with exactly what he/she needs to be an authentic representative of His.

Nothing is more important for a true disciple than to be rooted in Jesus in prayer and in the sacramental life of the Church.   As important as our hands, feet and eyes are in accomplishing the work of discipleship, even these are expendable if they become a source of sin or an obstacle in our loving service of God and neighbor.  Only daily prayerful encounter with the Lord keeps us in the way of true discipleship!

Disciples are humble, and not seekers of power or importance; Disciples are compassionate, and not jealous or envious of the ministry of others; Disciples manifest the presence of Jesus who sacrificed Himself for all!

Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2: 7-8).



Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com


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