29th Sunday Ordinary Time – What Do You Want? Really?
Again with the Two Paths… Mark sees the disciples and all of us caught up in the world of folly. And Jesus comes presenting another Way and we balk, we become confused – aren’t we doing it right? – we feel threatened, we stonewall, we…
I want to feel secure. I want to feel admired. Which path do I walk???
One of the ways Mark gets to this is through the basic question, “What do you want, desire, wish, like?” (thelo) Here are some instances of wanting according to the Path of Folly & Death.
It comes down to a) “Get rid of this person; he’s a nuisance to me” or b) I desire to be seen in public as someone of note; greet me! love me! honor me! and… give me… Amen.
Mark 6:19, 22, 25f And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not… When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her.
Mark 10:35f James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”
Mark 12:38–40 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
Mark 15:9-12 Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over… Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
Please compare these desires with what Jesus asks the disciples… and they are either unable or unwilling (or both) to comply.
Mark 1:40f A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”
Mark 8:34f He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
Mark 9:35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 10:43f But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.
Mark 10:51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”
So… what do you want?
I guess I want to walk Jesus’ path without giving up the things that keep me from it.