Twenty-fifth Ordinary Sunday
Points to note
The story goes that the Patriarch in Constantinople, who was the leader of all Eastern Orthodox Christians, at the time of Pope St Gregory declared himself the Ecumenical Patriarch, which means the Patriarch for all Christians in the world. Pope St Gregory got upset over this as he felt it was unbecoming for a Christian leader to take on such a title. He then added a new title to the many that popes already have: Servant to the servants of God. We see that title today when they list all the titles of the Pope: it is still there to this day.
The session therefore concentrates on the third of our three anointing we received at our baptism: as priest, prophet and king.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord,
anyone who follows me
will have the light of life.
Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem from Galilee, passing in and out of Jewish territories. After Peter’s profession of faith, he explained the conditions of following him and about the coming of the Son of Man.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Mark
(Mk 9: 30-37)
After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, “The Son of Man will be given up to some men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” They said nothing because they have been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.” He took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms around him, and said to them, “Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who does not welcome me, will not be welcoming the one who sent me.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Do you know that when we were baptised, the priest puts oil on our forehead? Encourage the children to talk about the baptisms that they may have attended and describe what they see. The oil is there to symbolise strength and the putting of the oil is called ‘anointing’. People get anointed to do certain tasks. David was anointed to be the king of Israel, for instance.
We too are anointed at our baptism, using the oil of catechumens, which has been blessed by the Bishop on Maundy Thursday. At our baptism, we were anointed priest, prophet and king. Discuss each of the three anointing in turn. Discuss briefly what we should be doing in our three roles. Our anointing as priest calls us to prayers. Our anointing as prophet calls us to be teachers and proclaimers of the Word.
Our anointing as kings calls us to be servants. Explain that the structure of Jesus’ kingdom is such that the least will be greatest and whoever wants to be a leader has to be servant to all. Note the washing of the feet at the Last Supper.
Discuss what we could do to answer our calling to be king-servants: caring for others, helping, etc. Discuss the people who we know have answered the call to be servant to all and how they have done it. Do not limit to people whom the children know personally, but broaden it out to others in the world. Mother Teresa is a good example.
Other than caring for others personally ourselves, is there anything else we can do? Contribute money and material to charitable groups. Or we can even join such groups ourselves. Name some of the groups and discuss what they do. Start with the groups the children may know in our parish. There are those that are part of the caring ministry: SVP. There are also those that take on a caring ministry as part of its activities; for instance, when a youth group visits a old folks home.
Discuss again how the children can be king-servants. Do the caring ourselves or help these organisations by telling others about it, help in support/fund-raising activities, contribute your time and money.