25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, SEPT. 23rd , 2012.
Weekly Letter to Sinead and to Mark, two young adults, hungering for God-knows-what.
(See ‘Mass Texts’ in Home Page, for the text of this Sunday’s Readings: the Gospel of the day is St. Mark, Chapter 9, verses 30-37).
Dear Sinead and Mark,
May I introduce myself to you? I’m Zach, and I’m in my early twenties now.
Will you come with me back to when I was five years old, playing with some other boys and girls, friends and neighbours, the day when we met Jesus coming back home to his own house, beside where we lived?
I remember the day very well, because Jesus picked me out. That’s my story. You can remember lots of things that happen when you are five!
I lived at the time with my parents in the village of Capernaum, just beside the lake of Galilee. As kids we went swimming and fishing there often. This day, there was a lot of commotion, because the Rabbi Jesus was back home after travelling to a lot of villages around the rim of that fertile ‘saucer’ that we call Galilee. He had been away for weeks. Now, he and his friends,- ‘the Twelve’ he called them- were back for a rest. Jesus’ poor Mammy had to feed quite a few of them, while Peter and Andrew went to their own house, where Peter’s wife and Mother-in-law were waiting, and James and John went back home to their Dad Zebedee.
Anyhow, there was a crowd of them there in the house, and, as kids do, we were hanging ‘round the door, peeking inside. This Jesus man was always glad to see us when he got home, and he would make a fuss of us as if we were really important people! There we were, peeking in, giggling, poking one another, and at the same time trying to hear what the adults were talking about. At one point, the friends around the table seemed to get fidgety, even embarrassed, and some had their heads down, others were looking away from Jesus. I had just about made out what Jesus had said to them: ‘What were you talking about, as you walked along the road home?’ I think he knew well, already. From what he said to them next, we guessed that they had been arguing with each other about who was the greatest! Imagine that!. Jesus sat down, and gathered them all around him,- and we slipped inside the door to hear better. ‘If you want to be the first, why not try being the last?’ he said: ‘why not try being the servant of everyone?’ That shook them, we could see. They looked very awkward, sitting there,- embarrassed, even. Just then, he looked around the room, and spotted me and my friends inside the door. Then he called me! He said ‘Hey, Zach,- will you come over here a minute, if you don’t mind? That ok with you?’ (Always polite, he was.) The big people made a space for me, and I went over to the Master (that’s what they called him). He then stood me in front of the others, the big people, he put his arms around me like my Dad would do, and he said: ‘Do you see young Zach here? Tell you what, lads, – if you or anyone else welcomes Zach or any of the other kids here, in my name, you would be welcoming me! And if you welcome me,- you are welcoming my Father who sent me to you!.’
You should have seen their faces. They looked at the Master, they looked at me, they looked back at him, and nodded. I think they were saying, silently, ‘Yes, we get it now, Master. Being tall doesn’t make us Big, being small doesn’t make them Small! We’ll treat even the littlest one as we would treat you, Master.’
The Master smiled at them, nodding in agreement. Then he turned and said to me ‘Thanks, Zach!’ He put his hand for a second on my head and blessed me, then told me to go off with my friends and play. He waved at us all as we left, and we waved back, before we headed off, racing each other to the lake nearby.
That all happened when I was five, but it is still as fresh today as it was, those years back before I grew up. It was a great moment,- for the Twelve, but also for me and my mates. We learned a lot about ourselves that day. We’re important to God, – so we’re important!
Thanks for listening to my story.
God bliss you and bless you!
Zach the Man.
(My address is Main Street, Capernaum, The Galilee.)
(Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R., Esker).