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25th Sunday Yr B – he placed a child in front of them

September 18, 2012

Download 25th Sunday Yr B

Reflection Questions

  1. The Book of Wisdom continues the suffering servant theme of Isaiah last week and points to the suffering that Jesus will experience. Many Jewish people were searching for meaning and guidance outside Judaism while living in Alexandria (a large Greek city). Have you experienced a time when you went searching for other belief systems because the society you lived in made fun of your religious beliefs? Where did you turn? What happened?
  2. The Book of Wisdom reveals worldly people oppose Godly people. They pretend righteous motivations…. ‘let us see whether his words be true’…. ‘let him prove his gentleness and patience’. Has this experience of persecution and trial been part of your christian witness? Have you been able to live in trust that ‘God will take care of you’? Can you see and believe evil actions ultimately get found out and goodness is vindicated?
  3. Living in peace with each other in christian community is our calling. A desire for glory and power and possessions needs to be brought out into the open. What peace-full virtue from James could you practice more of: be pure, peaceable, gentle, compliant? What object or honor are you wanting to possess? Name a ‘selfish ambition’…
  4. Jesus, in the Gospel of Mark has 3 predictions of the passion. Each time Jesus talks about his suffering the disciples completely misunderstand what he is talking about. Today is the second prediction. Jesus talks about Death. Disciples talk about Glory. Jesus’ teaching about accepting suffering is contrasted with his disciples argument about seniority. 2 lifestyles are revealed. What style of living describes you: living upward (glory and honor and violence) or living downward (service and humility and nonviolence)?
  5. Jesus chooses to expose the disciples lust for power in a quieter moment ‘inside the house’. He challenges them. They were really just concerned about ‘power and glory’… ‘who was the greatest’. Jesus does a very revealing action. While they wanted to know who was ‘at the top’, Jesus takes a child representing someone ‘at the bottom’. He collapses the social and power structure. Receive and welcome and show hospitality and inclusion to the ‘bottom’ in society. Can you see how living this invitation will inevitably enter a disciple into upsetting the status quo. Upsetting the power structure of society. Jesus calls this a disciple ‘picking up the cross’. In your world, community family, workplace, who is ‘at the bottom’ (equivalent of a child in Jesus’ time). How could you ‘receive’ them? Jesus identifies with them. Will you stand up for them?
  6. In Jesus’ time, a child was ‘at the bottom’ of society because in a shame / honor culture, it would be highly unlikely that a good act toward a child would be ‘rewarded’ by the child talking to the community about the hospitality received. As a result, a kind action does not get rewarded with ‘honor’ in the eyes of the community. Therefore it is not worth doing. Can you recognise how subversive Jesus’ placing the child ‘in their midst’ is to the culture of the disciples. Who is the equivalent of a ‘child’ today?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?

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