This Sunday’s Readings:
Wisdom 2:12, 17–20
Psalm 54:3–4, 5, 6–8 (℟ 6b)
TO GET THE FULL IRONY OF THE DISCIPLES’ ARGUMENT TODAY—who among them was the greatest—we need to know what happened in the section before and what we’ll hear in the following section of Mark’s ninth chapter. In the previous section, which we don’t hear in the Sunday lectionary, the disciples failed to exorcise a demon from a boy. When they asked Jesus why they couldn’t heal him, he basically said it was because they didn’t pray (9:29). Next Sunday, the disciples will complain to Jesus that someone outside their circle was doing what they couldn’t do with the boy. And today, the disciples choose silence over looking stupid, refraining from asking questions even though they don’t understand Jesus’s teaching.
We can be a lot like the disciples: insecure, resentful, and afraid of seeming incompetent. But Jesus shows us how to get beyond our fragile egos. First, pray. The work of God’s reign is not about what you can or can’t do but about what God is doing for those with faith. Then shift your focus from yourself to the powerless—the insignificant, unimportant ones upon whose backs the powerful vie for even more status through systems that keep the defenseless in place. The lowly ones of the world are sacraments of God’s presence. When we fix our gaze upon them, great will be the work God does through us.
Jesus loves me. He will stay close beside me, all the way.
When I was a very little girl, I used to sing a version of this song to my great-grandmother, who called me her “little Gospel singer.” When I did so, I wasn’t self-conscious or concerned about what I sounded like. I simply believed she wanted to hear my voice over the phone because she loved me, and, in those moments, I wholeheartedly believed that Jesus loved me too. No doubts. No worries. Just the faith of a child who was safe and surrounded by love no matter what. As adults, life changes and can get much harder. We can be so much more self-conscious or worried and full of doubt, but if we reach back, we can remember this truth with confidence: “He will stay close beside me, all the way.”
More choral suggestions for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time…
Al Partir el Pan / When We Break This Bread Pedro Rubalcava Two- or three-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, 2 trumpets, 2 violins 012642
Children of a New Tomorrow Laura Kutscher Unison choir, solo, descant, keyboard, guitar 007125
Children of the Heavenly Father Henry Gerike SATB, organ G-2631
Day by Day Richard of Chichester & Hugh Benham SATB, organ 008955
Dos Cantos para las Procesiones / Two Processional Songs Pedro Rubalcava Two- or three-part choir, cantor, descant, assembly, opt. guitar, opt. keyboard 012531
El Señor Es Compasivo / The Lord Is Rich in Kindness: Salmo 103(102) Peter M. Kolar Unison choir, descants, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, flute 012670
I Want to Follow Jesus Douglass Starr SATB, organ G-3904
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light Kathleen Thomerson SATB, organ G-2786
Keep in Mind Lucien Deiss, CSSP SATB or Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 002559
Lead, Kindly Light Steven C Warner SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, oboe, opt. 2 violins & cello 007269
Let the Children Come to Me W. Clifford Petty Three-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 001235
Lord, Help Us Walk Your Servant Way Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. / Randall Sensmeier SATB, keyboard G-4368
O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee Anthony J. Maglione SATB, organ G-7343
The Lord Upholds My Life Aaron Thompson SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 008073