Weekly Reflection

As part of my work as Manager, Campus Ministry for the University of Notre Dame Australia I write a weekly refection on the coming Sunday's Gospel and email it to all staff and students of the Fremantle Campus. This then is the weekly blog of those reflections, based on the Gospel readings for Sundays, as per the lectionary of the Roman Missal of Paul VI. Should these reflections find any readership whatsoever, I hope that it is edifying.
The title of my blog is taken from the English translation of Cardinal John Henry Newman's memorial epitaph, which was inscribed on his memorial plaque at the Birmingham Oratory.

Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem - Through Shadows and Images to Truth

Saturday, October 17, 2015

18 October 2015 - 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Gospel Mk 10:35-45
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 
and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
The Disciples are an interesting bunch. Despite the time they’ve spent with Jesus, it seems that his message of humility, service and self-sacrificial love is consistently lost on them.
The reading for this Sunday recounts the story of James and John asking Jesus for places of high honour in the Kingdom. Their question itself belies a particular ignorance of the Kingdom that Jesus had been teaching and preaching about, and so Jesus capitalises on this most teachable of moments.
Gathering his disciples together, he instructs them “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
These words are a radical challenge not only the pagans of Jesus’ day and the disciples to whom his words were first addressed, but for us who live in the modern world, Jesus’ words could not be more contradictory to current mode of being which we have inherited. For us today the assertion of one’s will and authority over self and others, and even nature itself is viewed as a supreme virtue. All must be bent to the power of the human will.
In this context, Christ’s words about humility and service or worse still meekness could not be more unpalatable!
Here, the example of sacrificial love and meekness that he gives is himself, the Son of Man who came not to be served but to serve.
Indeed, Christ’s admonition to follow after him, to be meek and humble of heart, is a difficult task – and those who take a more pessimistic view of human nature would hold that what he asks is impossible. While the nay-sayers would claim that the last Christian died on the Cross, we can assert with St Paul that ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’ [Phil 4:13]

Words of Wisdom
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” 
― Mother Teresa

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