Week 25, Sunday. Words of THE WORD.

“I am the salvation of the people, says the Lord. Should they cry to Me in any distress, I will hear them, and I will be their Lord for ever.

O God,
Who founded all the commands of your sacred Law
upon love of you and of our neighbor,
grant that, by keeping your precepts,
we may merit to attain eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM (click for full Psalm)
The Lord upholds my life. (Psalm 54:6).

SCRIPTURE EXCERPT (click for all readings)
“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 (διδάσκω, didasko) his disciples and telling (ἔλεγεν, elegen) 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.” (Mark 9:30-33.”
In the chronology of the Evangelist Mark, much has happened between last week’s lesson on Jesus’ identity and this week’s announcement once again of what awaits Jesus in Jerusalem. Preceding today’s proclamation, Jesus took Peter, James and John atop “a high mountain” and was transfigured before them. Jesus gave those three disciples a glimpse, a peek into His glorified identity – an identity that would not be revealed until the Cross. Following this event, which had the three questioning, “what rising from the dead meant,” a man brought his “son possessed by a mute spirit.” The father explained that the disciples could not cure him and Jesus reminded all of the need once again to have faith, that radical and complete trust in the Person, Jesus. In a dramatic characteristic of the Evangelist Mark, the episode - filled with violence at one point, ends with Jesus peacefully returning him to his father. Jesus’ disciples then question why they could not cure the son and Jesus once again counsels them on the necessity of prayer.

All of this forms a backdrop for today’s proclamation that once again reminds the disciples of the events that await Jesus in Jerusalem.
The episode opens with Jesus “teaching his disciples and telling them.” Teaching and telling: is there a difference between these two actions? While we generally think of teaching involving some type of oral communication, διδάσκω (didasko) is “teaching that demonstrates, shows or reveals.” The activity of διδάσκω involves much more than speaking bits of information to others. ‘Showing how’ the teaching works in the person’s life is more at the core meaning of διδάσκω. The disciples, as far as Jesus was concerned, were not only to hear what was being said (teaching) but to see the ‘teaching’ or the lesson embodied in the Teacher Himself. This is a particular meaning of διδάσκω that is rather unique in the biblical usage of both Testaments. Sadly, the disciples missed the point and Jesus needed to re-present the lesson.
The event does speak volumes to all involved in the Church’s teaching ministry. In view of the upcoming Year of Faith and the work of The New Evangelization, what are we doing in Catholic ‘education’? Are we merely barking facts about Jesus and couching His moral teaching under the rubric of the ‘Good News of no you can’t’? The present concern of The New Evangelization is clear: the handing-on of the Person Jesus wherein the ‘seers’ and ‘listeners’ encounter a Person - Jesus and respond with lives of daily conversion and service to God our Father and one another.

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