Mark 9:30-37 NRSVue
30They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it, 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
33Then they came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36Then he took a little child and put it among them, and taking it in his arms he said to them, 37“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Lord, you were trying to prepare your friends for bad news (the Passion) and good news (the Resurrection), but they did not want to hear you. They were caught up, as I am often caught up, in private competitions and jealousies. It takes a lifetime to realise the silliness of my ego-trips. Do not despair of my silliness, Lord. Go on teaching me.
Maybe the disciples were afraid to ask Jesus because they didn't want to know anything more about the future which would involve death and resurrection. This little bit of knowledge of Jesus' future was almost too much for them.
The trusting nature of a child may have been an invitation to them to trust in Jesus even though the future was unknown. In prayer we can ask for the gift of this sort of trust for our own future.
Ambition is part of our make-up and no different for some of the apostles. For Jesus, ambition is to be more like him, to serve and suffer for others as he served and suffered. Somebody once told Saint Ignatius that Francis Xavier was a very ambitious young man. Ignatius replied, ‘He is not ambitious enough’. His later ambitions were gospel ambitions. Prayer renews and refreshes our desire to be like and for Jesus in the world.
In welcoming Jesus Christ into our lives, we welcome the Father and the Spirit. We welcome the Divine. With him, we are part of a total world, spanning heaven and earth, reaching out to all of humanity. Prayer is part of that mystery. Prayer touches into the links of heaven and earth. It links us also to all of humanity. When we pray we join the whole human race in their prayer to God, and we join Jesus in his prayer for us.