In the spring of 2003, a feature-length film appeared in theaters, telling the true story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who defied Hitler and gave witness to the Gospel in the face of the Nazi tyranny. One of Bonhoeffer's best-known books is The Cost of Discipleship. Its very title comes to mind as I read today's Gospel.
Here, Jesus teaches his disciples that he will suffer and die, but the disciples are not only baffled by what the Lord is telling them; they're too busy arguing over who among them is the greatest!
Jesus must remind them once again that the Kingdom demands a lot of the disciple. True greatness lies in service. True disciples take the side of those who are powerless, like the little child Jesus embraces in the story.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived at a time when many religious people chose to ignore a great evil, or worse-collaborate with it. Bonhoeffer wrote, taught, and eventually gave his life in a Nazi prison, to witness to what the Gospel demands: We must speak for the voiceless, even if our service costs us our own lives.
Today's Christians may not face evil on such a global scale, but they nevertheless have lots of opportunities for true Christian witness. May Christ give us strength to consider, and to pay, the cost of discipleship.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
Why do the wicked people attack the just one in the first reading? What do they think will happen if God is on the side of the just one?
In this week's second reading, James says that righteousness brings about peace. What is the result of evil?
Good and evil people have different attitudes. Why is that?
The Gospel shows Jesus teaching his disciples that he will be killed. Do you think they understand?
When the disciples argue about who was greatest, what does Jesus tell them?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
From now until Sunday, try your best to let others go before you. It could be in line at the store or taking turns during a game. Whatever it is, let someone else be first.
Do something for someone and expect absolutely nothing in return. Some examples of this might be volunteering somewhere that helps others, giving someone a compliment, or giving a friend or family member a small gift, just to let them know you care.