Gospel Reflection: Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

TWENTY- NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

OCTOBER 18, 2015

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Son of Man came to serve

and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Gospel of Saint Mark 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.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

This Sunday’s First Reading form the Prophet Isaiah’s Fourth Suffering Servant Song (Isaiah 53: 10-11) creates a significant setting for our reflection of Saint Mark’s Gospel.  The passage of Isaiah was written during the Jewish exile in Babylonia.  Jerusalem and the sacred Temple have been destroyed and the people had either been dispersed throughout the region or had been taken captive to Babylon.  The message of the prophet is one of consolation and hope so that the people might be strengthened in faith as they await their deliverance.   Like the Christian community from the beginning, we cannot help but see that Jesus Christ is the Suffering Servant spoken of in this reading.  It is through the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus that the fullness of deliverance is given to all humanity.

The Isaiah passage helps immensely to understand the true identity of Jesus and the purpose of His life and death.  It is in this context that the question and expectations of the disciples James and John are so incredulous.   Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you…. Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.

During this entire Liturgical Year, Saint Mark has carefully provided us with an in-depth revelation of the identity of Jesus as Deliverer and Savior and the subsequent true identity of a disciple as servant and slave.  Yet, the questions and behavior of the disciples can lead us to wonder if those poor boys were really dealing with a full deck … or if they were really that slow!!!

Or is the case, not so much a question of the mind, but a manifestation of the fallen condition of humankind?  Which one of us enjoys suffering – Can you drink the cup that I drink?   Which one of us does not want the glory without the sacrifice?

So the lessons of Discipleship in Mark’s Gospel must be taught over and over throughout the ages.  Partly, because we are all a little slow to understand, but more so, because we are reluctant to fully embrace and commit ourselves to a life of True Discipleship whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.

Jesus summons us as He did His first disciples.  The celebration of this Sunday’s Eucharist is the perfect time for self-examination: What kind of disciple am I?  The only authentic disciple of the gospel is the one who is servant of all — will be the slave of all.  We are not called to be disciples of the world who lord it over others; we are called to be disciples of the Gospel who follow the master: For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

 

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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