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Mark 9:30 - 37
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
After Labor Day, the season of summer unofficially comes to a close - the fall will officially begin. Even with the arrival of cooler and darker mornings and longer shadows in the evenings, I get the sense that summer does not want to be put in it's box.
Maybe, because it knows that it is, like a child, time to bed, it's not leaving without a heated protest (and we felt that last week). And I'm sure that in the coming months of the fall, and even during the winter, with what we call the Santa Ana winds, the summer we thought was sleeping quietly, wakes up every so often and blows hot air at us.
As if to assess our "readiness for the fall and winter", today's Entrance Antiphon spoke of crying out to the Lord in distress, in tribulation. The first reading from the Book of Wisdom has us meditate on the enemy's dark strategy. Psalm 54 comes from the anguish of a heart that fears betrayal. The Second Reading from St. James explores the internal origin of wars and conflicts. And the Gospel has Christ predicting his death and his resurrection. But rather than issuing us with armor to go to the front lines or a defense strategy to prevent the fall, Our Lord presents us with a child - a child shall be our standard bearer. And then he embraces this little child in his arms? What does this mean?
The humility of God is his greatest strength. Our humility before the strength of God is his greatest gift to us.
Back to the language of nature. To paraphrase St. Augustine: “Consider a tree: how as it grows, it must reach down deep into the earth so that it might shoot forth upwards. It anchors its roots deep in the ground so that it may reach the heavens. Is it not from its humility (hidden from public view) that the tree can rise to great heights? Without humility, there is no growth. Without deep and secure roots, yes, you might rise tall, but you easily collapse in the winter storm.”