By Sr. Marguerite Kelly, mfic

Last Sunday’s Gospel recorded the “First Prediction of the Passion” in Mark’s narrative. Today we hear the second. Last week we heard Jesus’ rebuke of Peter who attempted to prevent Jesus from even thinking of it. Today the post-prediction story is quite different and yet a contrast for sure. In last week’s Gospel, Peter had understood well what Jesus was talking about. Here the disciples fail to get it. They continue walking and instead of questioning the meaning of what Jesus had spoken, they begin arguing about who would be the leader if Jesus were to actually be killed.

Jesus has just revealed an intuition about His future death and the disciples are planning on their future rankings. Then Jesus does something a bit strange. After reminding them about the role of a true follower by being servant, Jesus embraces a child as a visual aid. This has to be somehow united with the theme of His death and how a virtuous follower is to live.

Mark is presenting Jesus as a servant Who is embracing His life, ending with His embracing of His cross and death. As easy as it is to welcome one little child into ones arms, a true follower of Jesus is to welcome the implications of that vocation. Jesus was available, welcoming and embracing of all the persons and events of His life including His welcoming of His death. The “child” becomes a convenient symbol of life and those who would be first of all must let go of the importance of being first and so be last in the “ego-line”.

Larry Gillick, S.J. Collaborative Ministries

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