Tuesday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Sirach 2:1-11 + Mark 9:30-37
February 21, 2023
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.
Today’s Gospel passage points our attention back to one of the first lessons of the liturgical year. This lesson is expressed in the saying, “The wood of the crib is the wood of the cross.” Another way of expressing the same truth is to say that “the only reason Jesus was born into this world was to die to this world”, or perhaps rather, “for this world”. We might be tempted at Christmastime to think only of the innocence of the infant Christ, without connecting this innocence to the purity of the Lamb who was slain on Calvary.
It might seem strange for today’s Gospel passage to meander from Jesus’ prediction of His Passion and Death at the passage’s beginning to His holding up a child for emulation at its end. But this beginning and end are connected by Jesus Himself.
It is because Jesus, as a divine person, is completely innocent (indeed more so than any child) that He becomes a fitting sacrifice on Calvary. We may think of innocence as a goal of our spiritual life because it prepares us to be fit for Heaven. Perhaps greater spiritual growth might come from seeing innocence as preparing us for a share in Jesus’ Passion during our earthly life.