Childlike trust the Lord
Mark 9:30 – 32 “After leaving that place they 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 power 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.”
Fear is a sign of lacking in love, and misunderstanding a friend or family member is a sign of lacking in connection in terms of thoughts and feelings, which also happens in one’s relationship with the Lord, and this is common in each and every person’s life as in the passage from the Gospel of St. Mark. The Lord Jesus was explaining to them the kind of Messiah He is and the plan that God the Father has in store for the salvation of humanity, through His own death and resurrection. Yet they did not understand, and so they were similar to the early disciples and Apostles. I also did not understand the kingdom of God much in my childhood and teenage years; caught up with the human expectation of a Messiah from God who would establish a kingdom of God based on political and military might is human thinking, not the mind of God. It is the Holy Spirit of God who proceeds from God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, who manifests the kingdom of God in the Church by touching the hearts of men, women and children who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and the Holy Spirit as the gift of God the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ His Son through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
Our Lord Jesus’ suffering at the hands of the godless is revealed many times in the Old Testament through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, as we see in the following passage from the Book of Wisdom; how actually the religious authorities belonging to the sects of the Pharisees and the Sadducees of the time of Jesus’ public ministry actually fulfilled the role of the godless people who would condemn the Righteous One of God to death because they were jealous of Him, the Son of God and Messiah, and their cry to crucify Christ echoes the words of the godless people in these verses,
Wisdom 2:17 – 20 “Let us see if what he says is true, and test him to see what sort of end he will have. For if the upright man is God’s son, God will help him 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 patience to the test. Let us condemn him to a shameful death since God will rescue him — or so he claims.’”
In the Book of Psalms, there is a prayer written which also reveals the trust of God that the Messiah of God will have in the midst of persecution at the hands of His enemies,
Psalm 53(54):1 – 4 “God, save me by your name, in your power vindicate me. God, hear my prayer, listen to the words I speak. Arrogant men are attacking me, bullies hounding me to death, no room in their thoughts for God. But now God is coming to my help, the Lord, among those who sustain me.”
Reflecting on this, the challenge is to discover how one truly responds to the Lord and the Gospel. Is the response like that of the disciples when they were still journeying with Him through Galilee not yet knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, and like the religious authorities of that time out with the intent to stop the Lord because they realise that they will lose everything because their lives do not measure up to the Law and the Commandments they teach and claim to uphold? There is a need to reflect on this.
I find that misunderstanding the Lord’s ways can be overcome by slowly allowing the Lord to lead us, through prayer, asking questions, reading and living one’s life patiently trusting that the Lord will gradually lead us to deeper knowledge of Him as we stay united with His Church. At times there may be selfishness and pride in my own life, much like most other people, and I’m aware of the need to work against these tendencies, which is where the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Spiritual Direction are most helpful. For while living on earth, we are still susceptible to sin, yet it is not an excuse, for we need to try not to sin again, which can only be done by depending on the grace and mercy of God. For the opposite is that of being a peacemaker as described in the letter of St. James’,
James 3:16 – 18 “Wherever there are jealousy and ambition, there are also disharmony and wickedness of every kind; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it is also peaceable, kindly and considerate; it is full of mercy and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. The peace sown by peacemakers brings a harvest of justice.”
There will be a transformation and conversion in ourselves, as we see in the lives of the Apostles and other Saints, for as we draw closer to the Lord we will sin less, because we become more aware of what we call venial sin, and as we grow in charity expressed through good deeds in cooperation with God’s grace and as prompted by the Holy Spirit we will gradually not sin much anymore, and this is a journey. Remember it took the Apostles and early disciples 3 years of living with Jesus and listening to Him and working with Him and witnessing His Passion and Death, seeing Him as the Resurrected Lord and witnessing His Ascension back to heaven and the Coming of the Holy Spirit to begin to understand more fully who Jesus Christ is as the Son of God. The Lord Jesus had to patiently instruct the early disciples about the Kingdom of God and who amongst the disciples is considered the greatest in the Kingdom of God,
Mark 9:35 – 37 “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 whom he set among them and embraced, and he said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes a little child such as this in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’”
Our Lord Jesus Christ, by revealing that children during the time of the Apostles are amongst the greatest in the Kingdom of God, was essentially telling His disciples that those whom society considers the least are very important in the Kingdom of God, for in ancient times, children were considered very little in the eyes of society, viewed as servants of their parents and elders till they have grown up. Jesus Christ the Son of God reveals that God always favours the lowly ones and the little ones.
This past week, I’ve seen my nephew and niece – my elder sister’s son and daughter both falling ill and they had to be brought to visit the doctor, and my family being people of Faith, my parents, grandma and I kept them in prayers, trusting that the Lord loves and cares for all His people especially the little ones. Praise God they are well, for the Lord has healed them. God loves us the whole of humanity so much that He gave us His Son Jesus Christ as Saviour and Redeemer and the Holy Spirit who helps us deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church.
Let us glorify God the Father in the words His Son Jesus Christ our Lord taught us:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.