In the Gospel this Sunday (Mark 9:30-37), Jesus was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill Him, and three days after His death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question Him. A little while later, Jesus noticed that His disciples were arguing, so He called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, He placed the child in their midst, and putting His arms around the child, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my Name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
In His teachings, Jesus always directs us with charity and clarity. As baptized disciples of Jesus Christ, we have become children of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, brothers and sisters in Christ, and members of His Body, the Church. God calls us to be child-like, with a total trust in Him and His teachings, and to serve Him in our brothers and sisters. As we trust in Jesus Christ and His Body, the Church, we realize that our formation in Christ is a life-long process, as God calls us to be formed and informed by Him, through His Church, Word, Sacraments, Catechism, Communion of Saints, and our daily prayer. With child-like trust in God’s mercy and love, we follow the teachings of Christ and His Church, and in them we find true joy, peace, mercy, love and freedom. With a prayerful “Jesus, I trust in You,” we strive by God’s grace to follow the two great Commandments: to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40). In the current scandal and crisis in the Church, we continue to pray for healing and strength for the victims of the sins, evils and crimes committed by leaders in the Church; for justice with mercy for the deacons, priests, bishops, cardinals and religious who are found guilty; and for healing and a renewed dedication to holiness, to living the virtues of faith, hope and love, for all members of the Church.
In our love for God and for our neighbor, may we keep striving by God’s grace to serve the Lord and His Church, looking for ways to help our brothers and sisters in spiritual and corporal works of mercy (Matthew 25:31-46) via our parish (church and school) and such wonderful groups as the Council of Catholic Women, Knights of Columbus, Family Promise, Lancaster Association of Churches Food Pantry, Clarity Clinic in Platteville, WI, and Dubuque, IA, Women’s Care Center in Madison, WI, and 40-Days-for-Life. In these and other ways, may we strive by God’s grace to live the faith that we profess. Let us continue to pray for those we serve and for one another – living the faith, in our love for God and for our neighbor.
With peace and prayers in Christ,