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Read The Book!

If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all
Wisdom 2:12,17-20; Psalm 54:3-4,5,6-8; James 3:16-4:3; Mark 9:30-37

Sermon Week Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 9:35

Someone has said of today's Christians: "Too many people have just enough religion to feel uncomfortable doing wrong, but not enough religion to feel comfortable doing right."

It also has been said that too many of us have been immunized with a mild form of Christianity, just enough to make us resistant to the real thing.

In other words ...

Too many of us don't take our religion seriously enough to affect our lifestyle. Too many of us don't put our religious beliefs into practice.

After Jesus' Resurrection, the Apostle Peter was convinced that the Gospel Message was to be shared among a limited number of people: those who complied with the dietary laws of the Jewish faith -- the "Chosen People" only, and not the Gentiles. Then, in a vision, he heard God telling him, in effect, that Christ came for all people and that he no longer had to observe the dietary laws of the Jewish faith. And Peter's immediate response is one of resistance. "Certainly not, Lord: I have never eaten anything profane or unclean" (Acts 10:14). ("No, Lord, I have never done this, no Lord, I have never done that, no Lord, I won't change my ways, not even for you.")

There are times when "I have never" can be the saddest phrase in the English language. All too often it expresses resistance to an opportunity to expand the horizon of our hearts!

I have never listened; I have never tried to understand; I have never really cared; I have never taken my religion seriously; I have never translated my beliefs into a new way of life.

After his initial negative response, Peter reaches down to expand the horizon of his heart. He finally understands that God's Plan of Salvation embraces all people. And he takes this Word of God so seriously that, together with a handful of other disciples of Christ, he proceeds to turn the world upside-down!

In today's Gospel episode, Jesus is teaching the disciples a lesson that has been evoking negative responses through all the Ages, even in our time -- perhaps [...]

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