Everyone who follows Christ must learn the meaning of sacrifice
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 17, 2021): IS 53:10-11; PS 33:4-5,18-19,20,22; HEB 4:14-16; MK 10:35-45
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
To be great means loving service to all, particularly those in most need. To be great means standing up for faith in our Savior, no matter the cost.
As on recent Sundays, today’s readings focus on what it means to be a true follower of Christ. The Gospel starts with two of those closest to Him, James and John, showing how little they know about discipleship. Instead, they push themselves forward, asking Jesus to make them the most prominent of the Apostles when He comes into His glory. Our Lord asks if they can do what He does and they assure Him that they can. “When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus…said to them,… ‘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’” (Mark 10:41, 43-45). Neither the “Sons of Thunder” nor the others comprehend the essence of suffering and sacrifice that encompass Christ’s mission of redemption. When Jesus explained what it meant to be a disciple and, especially, a leader of those who follow His way, He must have disturbed them all. Once again, He indicated His coming death and turned the usual view of life upside down. But Christians are expected to do far more than embrace worldly standards. To be great means loving service to all, particularly those in most need. To be great means standing up for faith in our Savior, no matter the cost. Yet in time, the Apostles did learn.
A week from today, we celebrate World Mission Sunday. The theme for this year comes from the Acts of the Apostles (4:20): “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard.” This was said by John and Peter after healing and preaching in the name of Jesus. They had been threatened and warned by the same Sandedrin that arranged the arrest and crucifixion of Christ at the hands of the Romans. John would spend the rest of his life sharing the Good News with others. Peter would lead the Church in its difficult early days, until he died for his faith. And James? He was beheaded; the very first of the Apostles to be martyred. They did all our Lord asked. It took them time to grasp what it can mean to be a Christian. Now it is up to us to understand and accept everything our life of faith entails.
In this week before World Mission Sunday, we pray for priests, religious Sisters and Brothers, and lay pastoral leaders who continue to “speak” of our faith throughout the Pope’s missions. Next Sunday, World Mission Sunday, we join them in these efforts, through our prayers and financial help.
For resources for the celebration of World Mission Sunday, visit this website.