We have fairly appropriate readings today to help me to reflect on my new role as parish priest as I am formally installed into this ministry today. The Gospel has some very strong reminders about service and humility. The Gospel of Mark continues to highlight the deficiencies of these clueless disciples who continue to get things wrong. Not that we should be too hard on them perhaps – Jesus is making things a little harder than he may have by telling them to keep looking below the surface level of things that he says to draw out the hidden kingdom message in his sayings – but then he says things that are clearly meant to be read only on the literal surface level. Once again the Lord continues along the way towards Jerusalem – no longer working multitudes of mighty deeds and signs, but now concentrating on teaching the disciples. Once again he tells them about the passion that awaits him in the days ahead, telling them that he will be ‘handed over’ (paradidotai) – a word that will punctuate the narrative another 15 times. As he tries to get through to these slow disciples, he patiently sits down in the way of a Rabbi to offer further examples to them – taking a small child (talya’ in the Aramaic that he spoke – which is the same word used for a servant) as a sign of what they should be.
Recorded at St Paul’s, 7.30am (9min)