Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Peter 1:18-25; Mark 10:32-45)
The gospel describes the disciples as “amazed” and some of them as “afraid” as Jesus sets his sights on Jerusalem. They are, no doubt, traumatized because they know that nothing but ill awaits Jesus in the center of Jewish ritual. On the other hand, we are amazed at the obtuseness of the Twelve disciples who make up Jesus’ closest confidantes. As Jesus is facing the supreme test, two of them have the brazenness to jockey for the highest positions of glory when he emerges victorious.
We may also be amazed at what some fellow Catholics are doing. Teens almost as soon as they are confirmed are leaving church behind. Mothers divorced from their spouses have live-in boy friends. Veteran Catholics blithely miss Sunday mass at almost any inconvenience. “Have the commandments been changed?” some wonder.
Jesus would answer "no," there is no justification for such practices. When he calls his disciples to serve one another, Jesus intends that all of us sacrifice individual autonomy to achieve divine authenticity. That is, rather than doing what pleases us, we are to imitate Jesus’ compliance with God’s will. Sometimes the challenge is daunting as it is for Jesus on the way to Jerusalem. For this reason we pray, “Lead us not into temptation...” This prayer alone assures us of the grace of the Holy Spirit to overcome any difficulty.