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Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.

Reflection by Colleen O'Dowd

Today's Gospel: Memorial of St. Philip Neri - Mark 10:32-45

This gospel would have driven St. Philip Neri coocoobananas. One of the best stories about him involves another table and another chat about seating arrangements.

James and John -- those Sons of Thunder -- depart from what we know of them here. Their request would have been especially ridiculous for John – who is between 12-15 at the time of the crucifixion/this story. I think John wound up on the A-team mostly because their mother shouted out the back door at James, at his announcement he’s leaving to follow Jesus, “Take your little brother with you!”

In Matthew’s parallel gospel, their mother is the one making this request for positions of honor. I wonder if Mark -- who typically is specific about naming his characters -- was protecting the dignity of their mother. Either that or Matthew adds her so James and John, his brother apostles, don’t look quite so bad.

These brothers are caught in the trap that I fall into as well: simple distraction. Something distracts me and I take my eye off the ball for just a moment -- and before I know it I have turned away from Jesus and Jerusalem, and I am wandering down the road of seating charts and fancy cups, contemplating my great purpose and cleverness.


Jesus assures them they will have their chance eventually – and reminds you and I that humility and servant leadership do not seek status. They seek to lift up the lowest of the low. To trade my spot at the table for theirs, to ransom their dignity for my own. Because we know where all dignity lies – in that we were loved into being by the God of the universe. This is our part in the great story of Jesus.



What is it that is specifically distracting me today from Jesus and Jerusalem and telling the great story of Jesus? Have I asked God for help with this?



Lord Jesus, I desire to be close to You -- help me remember that my closeness to You has nothing to do with where I am sitting, but with whom I am serving.

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Lord Jesus, help me remember that my closeness to You has nothing to do with where I am sitting, but with whom I am serving. #dailygospel


Copyright 2021 Colleen O'Dowd

Colleen O’Dowd is a Parish Missionary at Our Lady of Ransom in Niles, IL. She loves being Catholic, her Converse all-stars are always liturgically correct, and she is a super-saint-geek! She blogs ultra-occasionally at www.ourheartswereburningwithin.wordpress.com and can also be found @catholiccolleen on Twitter and Instagram.