Mk 9:30-37 Preparing For the Worst
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. (- from Coffee News)
The Lord sat his disciples down and told them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask.
Did they not understand? I have a hard time believing that they did not understand the plain and simple truth the Lord was expounding to them. It must have been more like a horrible shock, like those who say, “What part of ‘no’ did you not understand!”
I believe with all my heart that the hearts and minds of the Apostles could not even begin to fathom, let alone imagine their life without the Lord. What would they do? How would they continue? After all, they knew better than anyone else, “We are not you.” They could never speak like Jesus. They could never perform the miracles that the Lord performed – raise the dead, cure the sick, heal the brokenhearted. They lacked faith and hope, not to mention the tremendous amount of love the Lord possessed in his very being. How could they go on? What could they possibly offer the world but a memory? And yet the greatest miracle, the conversion of billions of people to Christ, is living testimony to the greatest miracle the world has ever believed: The Resurrection. There is life after death. There is something to hope for; something to die for; someone to believe in. They saw it with their own eyes and their eyes were never the same again. Now it is time for them to hear it again, for a second time, “I will be killed.”
The Lord was preparing them for the worst and telling them, “You must continue.”
Just yesterday a beloved son, brother, husband and father died in his home from an apparent heart attack. It came as a complete surprise to all. He was forty-five. He was loved by many, especially his wife of over twenty years and adored by his children. To all who knew him, his death sent an entire community and student body into mourning. He was loved by so many. His wife and children ask, “How will we go on without him?” “It will never be the same again?” Are these not the same words that the Apostles, the Lord’s family, must have been muttering on that awful Friday afternoon? What is striking in all of this is the similarity between our God and our lives; his family and our family; His death and our death. The Lord spent time with those he loved. We spend time with those we love too. We know that our lives are a gift. We must prepare for the worst. And the worst is not our death, but the separation that comes from it. That is by far the worst.
Let us all learn from the Lord and from his apostles. We should never take anyone for granted. Cherish every day, every smile, every laugh, every conversation, every lesson we can take in. From this day forward one hopes that the Apostles no longer wasted time asking, “Who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven!” For the days are counted, the months give way to years and the years to a life time that is only the smallest portion of our eternal existence. Let us all prepare for the worst by recalling the greatest truth ever: “Whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me."