25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B by Fr. Atta Mensah

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B by Fr. Atta Mensah

1st Reading Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Responsorial Psalm Psalms 54:3-4, 5, 6 & 8
2nd Reading James 3:16-4:3
Gospel Mark 9:30-37

Theme: “The Pull Him Down Attitude” ( PhD Attitude)!


There is a fable that Satan’s agents were failing in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man who lived as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every attempt had met with failure, so Satan, angered with the incompetence of his subordinates, became personally involved in the case. He said, “The reason you have failed is that your methods are too crude for one such as this.

Watch this.” He then approached the holy man with great care and whispered softly in his ear, “Your brother has just been made Bishop of Alexandria.” Instantly the holy man’s face showed that Satan had been successful; a great scowl formed over his mouth and his eyes tightened up. “Envy,” said Satan, “is often our best weapon against those who seek holiness.”

Explanation of the text

Our first reading is taken from the book of Wisdom which was written during the Hellenistic period. The primary purpose of the author was the edification of his co-religionists in a time when they had experienced suffering and oppression, in part at least at the hands of apostate fellow Jews. Those Jews who remained committed were seen as endangered species. Our first reading captures exactly the plights of the righteous as his own people plan to malign him and bring him down. They were envious of his way of life and try to pull him down.

According to Webster’s dictionary, envy is a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage. Envy is not just wanting what the other person has; envy is wanting the other person not to have it. And this is what St James corroborates in our second reading. The author of the letter of James talks about jealousy, envy, ambitions and petty quarrels that destroy the body of Christ i.e. the church.

The disciples of Jesus were not spared of this monstrous evil of jealousy and envy. In the gospel Jesus had been explaining to them what really entails in His Messiahship. The disciples do not fully understand what he is saying and they are afraid to ask him. Their fear is not lack of confidence to question Jesus but fear of what he might more plainly reveal. They half know what he is saying and, in an understandably human way, shrink from full knowledge of the unpalatable truth. They prefer to cling to the hopes and exciting prospect for themselves that being close associates of the Messiah as conventionally understood would entail.

Thus naturally they started fighting and arguing among themselves who is the greatest. Jesus called them to reprimand them and says to them that the greatest among them should be the least. Jesus then propones a new type of leadership style; a servant-leader. For Jesus then leadership should be for service and not to lord things over others and be domineering. Unfortunately this is not what we see in our world today. We live in a society where personal ambition overrides all other interest.

This is what we often see in any society, church, family, and indeed anywhere that personal ambition is considered more important than anything else. There, we see in-fighting, gossips, indifference, aggression, threats to lives and properties, hatred, and all sorts of vices. All these, come at the expense of the common good and peaceful coexistence. Wherever these exist, there can be no progress, prosperity and peace.



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