September 24, 2006
Catechists Background and Preparation
Spend a few minutes reflecting on what these readings mean for you today. Was there a particular reading which appealed to you? Was there a word or image that engaged you?
Read the Word in Liturgy and Catholic Doctrine sections. These give you background on what you will be doing this session. Read over the session outline and make it your own. Check to see what materials you will need for the session
The Word in Liturgy
Today’s gospel contains the second of three predictions in Mark of Jesus’ passion. As the Galilean ministry draws to a close and the journey to Jerusalem begins, the prediction of suffering deters the disciples from adopting a false Christology based on wonder working. The expression Jesus uses (“handed over”) suggests both legal action (execution of a human sentence) and a Jewish theology of martyrdom (fulfillment of God’s will according to scripture). The disciples, however—as is common in Mark—fail to understand Jesus’ prediction. They are even reluctant to talk about it, lest questioning him reveal even worse news! The scene suggests a certain loneliness in Jesus on the journey to Jerusalem.
In the cultural milieu of Jesus’ day, calculations of what honor was due to each person permeated social life. The topic of the disciples’ discussion was, therefore, not a particularly vain or unusual one. It is the response of Jesus that is unusual. His insistence on service as the way of discipleship, and indeed as the only true form of greatness, is the outstanding message of this passage. The call to service is the doctrinal focus of today’s catechesis.
By baptism believers are incorporated into Christ and given their vocation to a life of service. We share in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly role of Jesus Christ, whose “royalty” consists in that the king of the universe made himself the servant of all. The Church envisions itself as carrying on this discipleship, following the model of Christ who comes to serve.
As servants, we worship God. The Church, gathered around the table of the Lord, while hierarchical, offers the same sacrifice of praise from all. Ordained ministers are to be servants. In fact, the Church understands that while the ordained are set apart, they are so designated precisely in order to serve all the faithful. As servants, Church members engage the world. The Church goes forth to practice corporal and spiritual works of mercy, preaches and strives for social justice among the nations, and assists the development of peoples. Each member serves in various ways, to the praise and glory of God, following the example of Christ.