The Gospel according to Mark 9:30-37
“…He was teaching his disciples and telling them, The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him,…But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him…"
In the first reading taken from Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), it says:
“My son, when you come to serve the LORD, stand in justice and fear, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, incline your ear and receive the word of understanding, undisturbed in time of adversity."
The Word of God reminds us today that in serving God we will encounter adversity – there is a cross to carry - and that we should be undisturbed in time of adversity. In the Gospel reading, our Lord is plainly telling His disciples that he Himself will undergo great trials in doing His Fathers will – for the salvation of mankind. But they did not understand the saying and were afraid to question him. Isn’t that odd? They had never been afraid to question him for clarification on other matters, but in this case it involved suffering and being killed for doing the Father’s will.
In the Gospel Acclamation, the excerpt from Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians (6:14), reminds us that the cross is our boast and we should not be surprised to suffer or even die for the faith.
“But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
The list of saints who have been martyred, from earliest church history to the present, is endless, yet, it’s hard to think about that possibility for us; perhaps we too are afraid to ask the Lord for clarification.
In my own lifetime, I can’t remember when there was a greater possibility to suffer, or maybe even die, for the faith we profess, than the present time. We know over the past century that in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle-East, South America, and Mexico (in North America) there has been horrific anti-Christian and anti-Catholic persecutions. But, the anti-Christian, and anti-Catholic sentiments, have never been on such a world-wide scale as they are today. We are to take courage. The admonition from today’s readings say to us, “My son, when you come to serve the LORD, stand in justice and fear, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, incline your ear and receive the word of understanding, undisturbed in time of adversity."