The wicked say: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the
test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.
R. (6b)The Lord upholds my life. O God, by your name save me, and by your might defend my cause. O God, hear my prayer; hearken to the words of my mouth. R. The Lord upholds my life. For the haughty men have risen up against me, the ruthless seek my life; they set not God before their eyes. R. The Lord upholds my life. Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life. Freely will I offer you sacrifice; I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness. R. The Lord upholds my life.
Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.
Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Jesus and his disciples left from
there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.
They came to
Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name,
receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
They could not have been
walking with him. They must have been walking behind him, or
maybe in front of him. They were discussing their
relationships with him. We don’t know exactly what was said,
but we can assume what it might have been about.
Peter said, “Of course, without any doubt, I am the most
important! Didn’t he call me “rock” on which that community
of his is going to be built?” John said, “I am sorry for
you. What you say is true, but that is only a question of
administrative bureaucracy. The fact that you might be a
good administrator does not make you the most important one.
You should look for something else. You should be attentive
to something more important. You should look for his love,
and if you do that, well . . . he loves me the most!”
Then Judas spoke. He said, “The most important fellow is the
man with the money. You don’t need to be a Marxist or a
capitalist to know that. The world is ruled by money, and to
whom did he entrust his money? To me, and that is why I . .
.” Philip spoke: “All of that is very nice. Do you remember
when he had that catering problem in the desert with all
those thousands, when nobody knew what to do, himself
included? He turned to me for advice. I am sorry for all
three of you, but he asked me . . .”
Jesus must have walked ahead of them or behind them during
that conversation, having his own thoughts, his own
sentiments, while they had theirs. He spoke about being
delivered into the hands of men; they spoke about how others
would be delivered to them. He spoke about saving others,
carrying their plight; they spoke about themselves in the
small circles of their personal lives. He spoke about being
a servant; they spoke about being a master.
At first sight, of course, their conversation seemed to very
pious. They spoke about their relationship with him. They
spoke about their relationship with God. Peter spoke about
Jesus’ trust in him, while beating his enormous chest. John
spoke about Jesus’ love, and he pointed at his heart. Judas
spoke about Jesus’ purse, indicating that it was the thing
that counted. Philip spoke about Jesus’ appreciation of his
judgment and flair.
A few Saturdays ago I couldn’t sleep too well because of a
nagging back pain. I woke up at all hours in the middle of
the night. I switched the tv on. I was amazed to find people
preaching about Jesus in the middle of the night. I was even
more amazed at their messages. Those messages seemed to be a
continuation of the competitive fight those disciples of
Jesus’ had. As for his disciples, it was all about “I.” I,
standing in front of our savior. I, being anointed, being in
a holy place, with my loins girded, with my breastplate of
faith and my sword of truth. I, feeling so fine, very pious,
very scriptural. And, in the very end, even Judas’ purse and
money were not forgotten.
So they arrived at Capernaum. They arrived at his house.
They went inside and they washed their feet and sat down. He
asked them, “What were you all speaking about? What were you
quarreling about? What was all the noise about when I walked
behind you, when I walked in front of you?” There was no
answer. They looked at one another. They felt ashamed. They
felt stupid and embarrassed. They realized that he knew.
Where there had been silence for quite some time, he stood
up, went to the door, and disappeared, leaving them behind,
speechless. They did not even dare to look at one another.
He came back holding a child by the hand, one he had found
in the street. A small girl with a runny nose and pitch
black eyes. He put his hands on her, he greeted her, he
kissed her, and said, “Whoever received a child like this
one, breaking open the circle in which she or he lives, is
receiving me, and not only me, but the one who sent me as
well.” I don’t know what they did after that. Maybe Peter
gave her a pat on her shoulders. Maybe John kissed her on
both her cheeks. Maybe Judas gave her a coin, and Philip put
her on his knee while he dried her nose.
If they received that small child in all sincerity that
evening, they must have been filled – according to his word
– with God self, and a question, “Who is the most important”
did not make any sense anymore.