25th Sunday in ordinary time year B, 2012. Helpful Hints in reading the Scriptures, Deep Sea Diving into God’s Word, a realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Family Prayer around God’s Word, and a Blessing from Iona Abbey. Number 89

20 Sep


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Helpful hints

It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.

First Reading: Wisdom 2:12. 17-20

The godless say to themselves,

‘Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us

and opposes our way of life,

reproaches us for our breaches of the law

and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.

Let us see if what he says is true,

let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.

If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part

and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.

Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,

and thus explore this gentleness of his

and put his endurance to the proof.

Let us condemn him to a shameful death

since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)

Psalm: Ps 53:3-6. 8

R. The Lord upholds my life.

O God, save me by your name;

by your power, uphold my cause.

O God, hear my prayer;

listen to the words of my mouth. R.

For proud men have risen against me,

ruthless men seek my life.

They have no regard for God. R.

But I have God for my help.

The Lord upholds my life.

I will sacrifice to you with willing heart

and praise your name for it is good. R

Second Reading: James 3:16 – 4:3

Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.

Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires. The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g. ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday!   We never say it… 🙂

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.

They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’ The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..



If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.

                                                        Focusing the word

                                                                               Key words and phrases

The Son of Man is to be handed over but they did not understand.

If anyone wants to be first he must make himself last of all and servant of all.

I have God for my help.

The Lord upholds my life.

To the point

The structure of the gospel narrative is this: Jesus predicts his passion, death and resurrection; the disciples fail to understand; Jesus instructs them on true discipleship. The purpose of the prediction is not merely to foretell future events but also to describe a present way of living. The Master’s death must be embraced by the disciples becoming ‘servant of all.’

                                                       Connecting the Word

                                                                           To the first reading

‘If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part and rescue him.’ God did, indeed, deliver the Son – not by sparing him from ‘cruelty and torture’ but by raising him from death.

To biblical culture

The Greek word for ‘child’ [paidion] also means ‘servant,’ indicating the insignificance of children in Greco-Roman culture where they had no social or legal status. In Isaiah 53:2 ‘paidion’ is used to describe the ‘suffering servant.’ Receiving such a child/servant is, indeed, receiving Christ who is ‘the servant of all.’

Understanding the Word

‘Passion predictions’ in Mark’s gospel

This Sunday’s gospel presents the second of three passion predictions in Mark’s gospel. (The first prediction, 8:31-32, is read on 24 Ordinary; the third prediction, 10:33-34, is not included in the Lectionary cycle.) In each prediction Jesus announces the fate that awaits him, highlighting Jesus’ prophetic ability. Each prediction-narrative has the same three-part pattern: 1) Jesus describes in some detail his suffering, death, and resurrection; 2) the disciples fail to understand; 3) Jesus teaches them about discipleship. Let’s look at each element.

1) Prediction. In all three Jesus refers to himself as the ‘Son of Man,’ a title Mark associates with Jesus’ suffering and death. This Sunday’s passage gives the briefest description of forthcoming events: he will be handed over and killed; predictions one and three give more details. All three indicate that ‘after three days’ he ‘will rise.’

2) Misunderstanding. In the first prediction Peter so resists Jesus that Jesus calls him ‘Satan’ (8:33); in this episode Mark states explicitly, ‘they did not understand’ and the disciples then demonstrate their ignorance by arguing about ‘who was the greatest’; in the third episode James and John request places of glory in the kingdom (10:35-37) – a request over which the rest of the disciples became indignant (10:41). In each case no sooner had Jesus described his suffering and death than his disciples argue with him or with one another about glory, power, and greatness. They miss the point entirely; they clearly need some instruction.

3) Teaching about discipleship. Three times Jesus teaches them that disciples must follow the way of the Master. The first time he tells them explicitly, ‘whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me’ (8:34). Today he tells them that a disciple must be like a child and become ‘the servant of all.’ In the third episode he again tells them they must become ‘the slave of all’ (10:44). Failure to understand Jesus as the suffering Son of Man leads to misunderstanding the nature of discipleship. Such a difficult lesson bears repeating.

A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh


Dear One and All,

There is a certain sense of urgency about today’s Gospel.  One can sense Our Lord ramping up the central core of His message. Jesus suspects rather strongly that the road that he is on, will eventually lead to his death. He therefore uses every opportunity he can get to teach his disciples, and prepare them for what will probably happen to him and for the appropriate inner dispositions that the disciples should embody in their own journey to the Cross. In the midst of all this, he is probably disappointed to hear that their main concern was which of them, was the greatest?  I am pretty sure that most of us have experienced similar situations during conversations. Let’s paint a comparable picture. Supposing that you are explaining a plan of action in business to a group of Trainees; at  the end of your address to these budding Sales people you invite questions about the project…..some hands go up, and the questioner looking bright and bushy tailed asks when will they get a salary increase! The faces have changed over the centuries but this message remains the same: ‘ are you listening to what I am saying, and do you understand?’

I can’t resist in sharing this story with you…. A PARABLE ABOUT PRIDE AND HUMILITY CAUGHT OUT!

A newly commissioned Colonel had just moved into his office. A Private entered with a toolbox. To impress the Private, the Colonel said, “Be with you in a moment, soldier! I just got a call as you were knocking.’ Picking up the phone, the Colonel said, “General, it’s you! How can I help you?” A dramatic pause followed.  Then the colonel said “No problem. I’ll phone Washington, and speak to the President about it.” Putting down the phone, the Colonel said to the Private, “Now, what can I do for you?” The Private shuffled his feet, and said sheepishly, “Oh, just a little thing sir. They sent me to hook up your phone!” Here is another one on a slightly different angle, but focused on a similar theme.

A very meaningful parable was sent by email to me a couple of weeks ago together with a lot of meaningless rubbish! I would like to share this parable with you, because it has some bearing on today’s Gospel passage. It goes like this: A man, who was full of himself, and loved to show the vastness of his knowledge, asked his wife this question. ‘Do you know how many truly great men there are in the world today?” To which she replied, ‘No, I don’t. But I know there is certainly one less than the number you think there is!’ With that, he cancelled the Dinner for two at the Hills Lodge, Castle Hill., New South Wales 🙂

The Word of God this weekend speaks to us about “true greatness” in the sight of God and humankind. Let’s go back and have a look at the first Reading from the Book of Wisdom………..The author of the Old Testament Reading is speaking from the point of view of collective experiences   of the Lord God. Biblical Wisdom stems from the feminine characteristic of God. However, in this reading, gentleness and meekness being strength is often looked upon as a weakness in many societies in our world. To me that is a surface response and observation to this ‘Divine quality’. Let’s focus in on the basis for this strength. It would seem that the origin of this strength is founded on and built upon a personal relationship with God. Of course, in Jesus we see the living embodiment of this passage from the Book of Wisdom. Now there is another point in that first reading which I think needs attention. Let’s look at the attitudes of those who were named as ‘the godless’. Notice how much negative energy is exhibited in this passage? A general pen picture of such people are seemingly, unloving, unhappy and unwelcoming of others who live in the world with more Divine attitudes as living a Biblical wise life; we need to watch out in ourselves that some of those godless attitudes don’t creep into to our living menu. I have seen shades of this in my own life which causes me to seek Reconciliation. So without going into a public confession to you all, which would be terribly interesting, I think we could all do with a Review of life on this subject.  Now back to the Gospel, Jesus uses the profound image of a small child, as one who is welcome in God’s household. It seems that Jesus was not saying that we should stay immature, but just as a child is ‘open’ to life and love without question from loving parents, we should always have a similar disposition towards God, and practice it in our daily lives with one another.

 A child in the society in which Jesus lived had no status; Jesus exalts that status by saying, all are equal in God’s sight, and those who embody that child like quality, are really welcoming Jesus into their lives as He welcomes them.   In the Celebration of the Eucharist, God speaks to us through His Word, always inviting a response from us. In Communion, we are united to Christ and to one another. May we continue to allow ourselves to be strengthened through Word, Sacrament and Community, so that we can truly seek the greatness of Christ-centered service of each other.

God Bless you, and may we never forget each other in prayer.  Fr.Kev.

PS: I will be having a two week ‘break’ hence the realhomilies will be taking a ‘break’ as well. So, I will be back at the Blog on the 17th or 18th of October in readiness for the next Sunday’s Readings.



This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. During Easter tide you might like to place some white and gold material on your devotional altar. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word.  Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. The burning of some fragrant oil also can evoke in the minds of your family, ‘prayer time’. Someone in the family might like to be the leader of the intercessions, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…

Leader: Jesus instructs us to become servants of all. Let us pray that we can so empty ourselves. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

That all members of the Church make the sign of the cross as a pledge of emptying themselves for others. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

That all people come to salvation through a willingness to die to self for the sake of oth­ers. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

That those bound in limited understanding of themselves and others through fear may gain the strength to overcome their fear. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

That we become servants of others so that we can be true disciples of Jesus. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones   and ipads & tablets….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

Leader: O God, you deliver us from all harm and take care of us and all our needs: hear these prayers that we might one day take our place with you in glory. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.

Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.

1.                        The Cross


2.                        The bread……………


3.                        The pain



4.                        The joy………………



5.                       The Gospel……………



6.                       The love…………



7.                      The light……………



8.                       The darkness…………….





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