Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

David himself calls him 'lord';
so how is he his son?"
The great crowd heard this with delight.

Riddles intrigue and challenge the mind to consider imponderable mysteries. They remind us of our helplessness because the questioner knows the answer and, try as we will, we cannot answer it. We really have no clue until the answer is given, and then – of course -- it’s obvious!

Unless, of course, the riddle involves the Holy Trinity. The mystery remains.

In today’s gospel Jesus confronts his opponents with a riddle about his divine relationship to God the Father. Of whom are the scribes speaking when they suppose that the Messiah should be a son of David? Can a king call his son “Lord?”

The scribes are stumped by this challenge and “the great crowd heard this with delight.’ They were glad someone could stand up to the elite but were no wiser to his meaning than the scribes.

On a deeper level, we can recognize their pleasure as wholly appropriate even if they are clueless. Jesus speaks of the Holy Trinity and this revelation is intensely, deeply and entirely satisfying. Not only does it reveal something of the mystery of Jesus, it reassures us about the goodness, beauty, truth and love at the heart of reality.

This psalm, as a prophetic text, anticipates the apotheosis of Jesus; he will ascend to God’s throne and take his place at God’s right hand, the place that was, is and always will be his. Three centuries before the Church “defined” the doctrine of the Trinity the Gospel of Mark recognized the Sonship and Divine Majesty of Jesus before his Heavenly Father. There can be little doubt that he is the “pre-existent Son of God” as Saint John taught when he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

“The great crowd heard this with delight”  because they recognize this man as one of us. He will speak for us before the Heavenly Throne. The pretenders to religious authority – in this case, “the scribes” – if they are called to testify before God will speak only of themselves for themselves. They do not care about the great crowd; they are hirelings and not true shepherds.

We celebrate this “second of the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary” because he stands with us even as he goes to Calvary. At this point of Mark’s Gospel Calvary is appearing on the horizon; Jesus’ every step, word and action brings it closer. Ascending the cross he ascends his throne and pleads for us, a prayer which cannot be denied because he is God’s beloved, only begotten Son.

1 comment:

  1. "This man is one of us." Today's Gospel again makes me think about the Incarnation. God becomes human. That is a mystery. Why would a omnipotent, all powerful God choose to become helpless as a human. It's messy and nasty being a human. The only reason could be love. That sounds so good. But what does it matter to me? Today as I sweep the floor and wash the dishes? Maybe that's another riddle?


I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.