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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Unity in Christ

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward." (MT 10:42)

“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” Mark 9:41

A wrestling match of sorts takes place in this a section of Mark’s Gospel. Jesus tries mightily to describe what it will mean to be his followers, it, and the disciples try mightily to avoid the subject. They point to an outsider, and the dangers he poses. Jesus turns the tables and asks his disciples to look within themselves: how are they a danger to Jesus and his work? Jesus uses graphic language, invoking self-amputation, to underscore his point.

Sometimes our most difficult obstacles lie deep within. Like our hands and feet, some attitudes and habits are deeply a part of us, and their removal would be traumatic for us. Yet we know that some beliefs (such as idolatries based on race, wealth, or gender) or behaviors (such as addictions) seriously harm ourselves and many others. We need a prayerful, non-neurotic watchfulness about our inner life. When necessary, we need a fierce resistance to anything that places us or others in danger.

Jesus, in today’s Gospel from Mark, says “whoever is not against us is for us.” Mark was speaking to his own Christian community. From its beginnings, there were tensions in the Church about who speaks for Jesus. Jesus himself always called for unity of heart and a diversity of expression as a sign of the truth of the Gospel. It is no secret that in Christian history and continuing today, divisions have seriously damaged the message and cause of Christ.

In our own time and place, cultural and political divisions have reduced our ability to solve problems and to live together in a just and peaceful society. Perhaps this is a time for Christians to step up, to remember that our unity in Christ is far deeper than the differences that we perceive. We are called to reach out and listen to each other, to honor each other as members of the Body of Christ. Christians can lead the way, and show everyone watching how it’s done.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Zec 8:1-8; Ps 102:16-21, 29, 22-23; Lk 9:46-50
Tuesday: Zec 8:20-23; Ps 87:1b-7; Lk 9:51-56
Wednesday: Dn 7:9-10, 13-14 or Rv 12:7-12a; Ps 138:1-5; Jn 1:47-51
Thursday: Neh 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12; Ps 19:8-11; Lk 10:1-12
Friday: Bar 1:15-22; Ps 79:1b-5, 8-9; Lk 10:13-16
Saturday: Bar 4:5-12, 27-29; Ps 69:33-37; Mt 18:1-5, 10
Sunday: Gn 2:18-24; Ps 128:1-6; Heb 2:9-11; Mk 10:2-16 [2-12]

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Priesthood Sunday
Monday: St. Vincent de Paul
Tuesday: St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions; St. Wenceslaus
Wednesday: Ss. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael
Thursday: St. Jerome
Friday: St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus; First Friday
Saturday: The Holy Guardian Angels; First Saturday