Unthinkable Passion

“Unthinkable Passion”
A reflection on Mark 9:30-32
Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
©2023 by Gloria M. Chang

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. For 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 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.”

Mark 9:30-37

Servant of All

The Twelve, who pinned their hopes and dreams for Israel on Jesus, blocked out his passion rhetoric. After hailing him as the Messiah, Peter rebuked him for disclosing his betrayal and death (Mark 8:32). No one understood his talk of “rising after three days.”

Following the Transfiguration and the healing of the demon-afflicted boy, Jesus repeated his prediction as they journeyed to Capernaum. All became silent, including Peter. A suffering Messiah did not fit into preconceived notions of Israel’s glory. Instead, the Twelve argued over who was the greatest among them, a subject more consistent with their expectations. Their aspirations to eminence mirrored their portrait of a conquering Messiah.

After months of discipleship, the Twelve barely grasped Jesus’ true character. Sitting down, the anticipated “Son of David” demonstrated royal humility by identifying with a child. Tracing his origins to the Father, “the One who sent me,” Jesus revealed the inner dynamic of divine life. The Suffering Servant, who is “last of all and the servant of all,” manifests the selfless love of God Almighty.

My servant, the just one, shall justify the many,
their iniquity he shall bear.

Isaiah 53:11b

Unthinkable: Christ’s passion prediction!
None dared ask about his crucifixion.

Related post:

The Kingly Child and Flower

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