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Providence Spirituality

Gospel according to Saint Mark 9, 30-37

They left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around the child, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

Sunday Reflection September 19, 2021 –

The Gospel According to Saint Mark 9, 30-37.


The liturgical texts for this Sunday give us “service” as a common thread. It is not just a matter of serving. There are prerequisite attitudes for serving in the manner of Jesus. He is benevolent, humble, and discreet. The evangelist tells us at the beginning of this text that Jesus did not wish anyone to know about it. Why do you think he does not wish us to know? For my part, I think that one of the fundamental reasons why he wishes to remain in the shadows is because discretion is a central value for Him.

He is present, passing by without making himself noticed. What matters to him is doing good works, freeing the oppressed, and healing those in need. He is not afraid to go down, to get on his knees, if necessary. He makes himself so humble that he washes the feet of his disciples. It is breathtaking!

Moreover, when asked who is the greatest, he answers that the greatest is the one who serves. Such an answer would be very controversial in today’s society where many think that the greatest are those who have power. I must confess that Jesus’s answer overwhelms me. It is a strong invitation to become like Him, a transformational leader. A person who serves with humility and kindness, putting the other person at the heart of all action. The question we can ask ourselves today is, “What motivates me to serve? Do I serve out of love or do I serve out of complacency?” In verse 35 of this text, St. Mark says: “Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’” As I reread this excerpt, I could not help but think of our foundress, Emilie, who knew how to incarnate this message. She always put herself at the service of others and especially the neediest. It also reminds me that we were founded to do what others do not do.

On this Sunday, let us pray that our charity will continually be inventive. Let us also pray for all those who give themselves to the service of the neediest to build the kingdom of God.

Finally, the question that we can ask ourselves today is:  What is the quality of my service to others? Am I a servant in the way of Jesus or in the way of the world?

Sandrine Aimée Tsélikémé, SP