Proper 20 – Year B

Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; (or Wisdom of Solomon 1:16-2:1, 12-22 or Jeremiah 11:18-20; Palm 54); James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37

“Arrogance diminishes wisdom.” – Arabian Proverb

                From the very beginnings of Christianity the church has been plagued with arrogance.  Here in today’s Gospel story the Apostles are quarreling among themselves about which one of them is the greatest.  There is so much wisdom in Christianity.  However, vanity, pride and arrogance for centuries have been camouflaging our inheritance.  No wonder our churches are not packed.  We might say, but our congregation is not that way, not like the others.  That’s like saying we are the greatest.  Oops, mirror time again.  In today’s Gospel Jesus does not tell us to be like a child, as he does elsewhere, but to simply accept the child.  Accept the humble, powerless child and we might learn, might learn not to yearn to be at the top, and to lust after power.  Paul says Jesus Christ emptied and humbled himself (Philippians 2:7-8).  Mary was surprised that God would look with favor on her lowliness (Luke 1:48).  Humility runs in this family.  And now we are members of this same family.  It is time to claim our true inheritance.  Children are not the only powerless people in our world.  Besides accepting children, let us also welcome the disenfranchised, the poor, the rejected, the lonely and neglected.  Let’s do this not simply to help them, but also that they may help us, help us to be humble.


                The Greek in today’s Gospel is pretty straight forward, clear in its English translations.


A flower rock hid.

Humble yet vased for honor.

Now table beauty.