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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
1st Reading (Isa 53:10-11): The Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity. If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.
Responsorial Psalm: 32
R/. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the Lord, and all his works are trustworthy. He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full.

See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield. May your kindness, o Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.
2nd Reading (Heb 4:14-16): Brothers and sisters: Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mk 10:45): Alleluia. The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 10:35-45): James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to him, "We can." Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared."

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

«Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench (Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, once more, Jesus overturns our schemes. Stirred by James and John, these words full of wisdom reach us: “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life” (Mk 10:45).

We certainly like to be properly served! Let us just think of how we can expect all public services to be efficient, punctual and clean; or how we can complain when, having paid for a certain service, we do not receive the expected compensation. Jesus Christ teaches us with his own example: He not only does his Father’s will, that includes our Redemption, but on top of it He bears a terrible cost! It is with his Blood through which our sins have been redeemed. A great paradox we shall never fully understand! He, the great King, the Son of David, who was to come in the name of the Lord, “rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; (…) becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8).

How expressive are the images of Christ on the Cross donning garments befitting a King nailed to the Cross! In our country we have quite a few; it is what we call “Their Most Holy Majesties.” In a sort of catechesis, we can appreciate how to serve is to reign and how the exercise of any authority must always be a service.

Jesus overturns so much this world’s categories that He gives an entire new approach to human activities. The most praiseworthy assignment is no better than the smallest job we can carry out to identify ourselves with Christ; with more love for God and for our brothers. If we truly believe that “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends” (Jn 15:13), then we can also make the effort of offering with our work a service of human quality and professional competence, imbued with a profound Christian attitude of service. As Saint Teresa of Calcutta used to say: “The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.”