Just another Sunday Gospel reflection…
You know, when I make it to heaven (God willing), I don’t think it will be just Saint Peter waiting for me at the pearly gates. I expect I’ll have this awkward confrontation with the other 11 Apostles and Paul and I’ll probably have a lot of explaining to do. I imagine it will sound something like this:
- Saint James: So, your… Stone. You know, some of that stuff you wrote about me, it shows up in my twitter feed.
- J. Stone: Twitter? We still get to tweet up here?
- Saint James: Yeah, Dr. Stone, but not so fast… What’s this about my “impetuous and ambitious nature?”
- J. Stone: Please, you don’t have to call me D…
- Saint James: Right, Doc. I’m not done… “sleeping on the job,” “being manipulative and cunning,” “hitting the highway when Jesus was betrayed…” You wanna explain that to me?
- J. Stone: Did I say that? I think someone misquoted me on the sleeping thing, but that’s in the Gospel…
- Saint James: Gospel. Right. My friend Matthew here, he wrote one of those Gospels. Matthew, you wanna take it from here?
- Saint Matthew: Hello, Mr. Missing Point. What can an evangelist like me say to an apologist philosopher like you about my… how did you put it? Oh, Yes: My “confused inner world.”
- J. Stone: Um… Is Jesus around?… Mary?… God? Can I just talk to God, please?
And then there will be Jonah, and Job, and probably someone else I won’t be prepared to stand up to, like, I don’t know… Lazarus or someone like that. I will have my share of explaining to do and I will have my share of humble pie.
But really you can’t blame me. I’m just taking what I read in the Gospel and telling it like I see it. You have to admit, the Apostles gave us a pretty shoddy example sometimes.
For instance, in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus warns the Apostles: “Dearly beloved friends, you need to prepare yourselves. I said it before and now I am telling you again: The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
The next thing you know the Apostles are bickering and boasting, manifesting all sorts of oneupmanship, acting like…
Acting just like we act sometimes. And that’s always the point. Our Lord’s patient rebuke to his Apostles always serves as a kind reminder for us:
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
I am sure these words of Christ leave most of you wondering, as it leaves me wondering, as it probably left the Apostles wondering too. Placing a child in front of them as an example, Jesus sends more than a message; he dumbfounds the Apostles. Because children have an uncanny way of stifling with their simplicity. Here is a beautiful example of what I mean: “Becoming like a Child,” which I read today on 8 Kids and a Business.
It makes you think. To be a child again — what would that be like? A lot of good it would do us to meditate on that message of simplicity Christ places before us.