Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 20, 2015

•Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 • James 3:16—4:3 • Mark 9:30-37•

Weekly Readings:25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A grieving woman, whose mother had just died, recalled an event in her own life that
illustrated what her mother was like.  She said, “I was a small child when I broke a treasured vase, a family heirloom.  Knowing how important it was, I screamed as it crashed to the floor and broke into a hundred pieces.  When my mother rushed into the room, she appeared relieved, not angry.  Gathering me into her arms, she said, ‘Thank God! I thought you were hurt.’  That was the day I discovered that I was the family treasure.”

As Jesus and his close companions traveled from Caesarea Philippi to the village of
Capernaum, he was struggling to help them understand him and his teaching.  Along the way Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”  That’s it.  Two brief sentences. Then Mark drops the topic.  His companions say nothing.  Maybe they could not grasp what he was saying.  Maybe they were stunned into silence, thinking what might happen to them if they continued following Jesus.  His teaching is simple.   You are the family treasure. God loves you!!

Mark tells us, “they came to Capernaum and when they were in the house, Jesus asked them ‘what were you arguing about on the road?’  But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest,” the best — #1!

Then Mark describes a tender, symbolic gesture involving a small child. Apparently Jesus
recognized that children are born in a state of grace: open and receptive to love.  Later, when a child gets things wrong — “a vase crashes to the floor,” fear or rejection can choke the child’s openness and receptivity.  In some way that is the experience of all of us. No wonder we spend so much time and energy trying to prove we are the best, or the greatest. No wonder we are so addicted to winning, or being number one.

With that tender, symbolic gesture involving a small child, Mark’s Jesus illustrates the heart of “the good news” that he lived and taught in the villages of Galilee.  “You are the family treasure!” God loves you even when “a vase crashes to the floor.”

We cannot appreciate the impact Christ’s resurrection had on his first companions.  Their
experience shed new light on what they knew of Jesus.  As they collected and shared their
memories, they began to understand him and his message in new and unexpected ways.

Years later, when the four written gospels emerged, that second generation were still sorting out and trying to comprehend what the resurrection of Jesus meant.  They began to see Jesus as “the central event of the history of the world.”

They began to understand that in him that Gracious Mystery we name God is breaking in and through the story of each of us.  God is with us! God is in us!  God is among us, leading and drawing us to become just like Jesus — more fully alive and more fully human!

If you have not discovered or realized that “you are the family treasure” then it is about time you do.  Today the Lord invites you to put aside your need to be the best, the greatest, or number one. God loves you even more than any family heirloom that crashes to the floor

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