Mark 9: 30-37

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them,“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved

Sacrament of Reconciliation: Fear Not

Twice in today’s Gospel, the disciples fear answering Jesus. The first, they feel confused about his statements, but don’t want to ask questions. The second time, Jesus recognizes their petty bickering. When asked what they are discussing, they look at Jesus silently, unwilling to acknowledge their wrongdoing. I am a prideful fellow myself, so I understand the disciples’ predicament. I am stubborn and do not like to ask for help, nor do I like my offenses pointed out.

What perfect timing then that our wonderful Pope Francis recently made a strong statement for the sacrament of Reconciliation. Francis said that we should not be afraid of the sacrament, even though it may sometimes feel daunting. What a similar emotion as the disciples today!

Reconciliation offers not just the opportunity to feel freer from our sins—it allows us to more fully approach Jesus and perhaps ask those questions of confusion or doubt. Francis ended his statement saying, “To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation means to be wrapped in a warm embrace.” We can be the child that Christ picks up and receives into the Kingdom. What grace!

—Ken Homan, S.J. is a Jesuit brother from the Wisconsin Province. He is currently studying history and theology at Fordham University, New York.


Lord, we search for that which will brings us true success. We seek for our families that which will bring them enduring fulfillment. You have given us the pathway to such joy.  “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Today may our decisions and the ways we spend our time follow your call to greatness.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team