Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I Confess:

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Opening Prayer:

Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading: Isaiah 53:10-11

It was the will of the Lord to crush his servant with pain. When he makes his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Responsorial: Ps. 33:4-5,18-19,20,22

 
R.        Lord, let your mercy be upon us as we place our trust in you.
 
The word of the Lord is faithful and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right and fills the earth with his love.
 
R.        Lord, let your mercy be upon us as we place our trust in you.
           
The Lord looks on those who revere him, on those who hope in his love.
to rescue their souls from death, to keep them alive in famine.
 
R.        Lord, let your mercy be upon us as we place our trust in you.
 
Our soul is waiting for the Lord. The Lord is our help and our shield.
May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.
 
R.        Lord, let your mercy be upon us as we place our trust in you.
 

Second Reading: Heb 4:14-16

Since, then, 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 we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Mk 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 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.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then 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 hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 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. For the Son of Man has come not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Homily:

Let us reflect on the gospel for this weekend. Most of us have had the experience of asking for something and not getting it. The experience of unanswered prayer can be a real challenge to our faith. In today’s gospel, James and John come before Jesus with a prayer of petition. They ask him, ‘allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ James and John together were on the mount of transfiguration with Peter. There they had an experience of Jesus in his glory, in the company of Moses and Elijah. James and John understood this experience as an anticipation of what was to come, and in the future they wanted the places occupied by Moses and Elijah. They presume Jesus’ enterprise will end in worldly glory and they want to be up close to him to get a large share of the pie. Here is a prayer that has far too much of ‘self’ in it. James and John’s request and the indignation of the other ten, who probably wished they had put the request to Jesus first, provide an opportunity for Jesus to once again spell out what membership in his kingdom means – service. He even takes the opportunity to state it more strongly: anyone wishing to follow him, must be "slave to all." That’s enough to shake them to their roots! It is the service that give identity to the follower of Jesus and not power and authority.

Christianity can’t be measured by the usual signs of institutional success: the size of church buildings; the numbers of people; acceptance and esteem in the world; influence of power; invitations to sit at prominent places at political banquets, etc. The evangelist stresses Jesus’ rejection of worldly approval and his insistence that his disciples must be found in the least likely places: on the wrong side of the tracks and of popular opinion; among the neglected and rejected; supporting just causes. In the eyes of the world and maybe even to some Christians, Jesus’ followers look like failures and are the least significant. But then, what else would they look like, if they were following their Master who came, not "to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many."

The desire for greatness seems to be inbred in all of us. Who wants to be last or least? Jesus did the unthinkable – he reversed the order to true greatness and glory. If we want to be first and great, then we must place ourselves at the disposal of others by putting their interests first and by taking on their cares and concerns as if they were our own. Jesus wedded authority with unconditional love and service with total sacrifice – the willing sacrifice of one's life for the sake of another. Authority without sacrificial love is brutish and self-serving. In Jesus’s kingdom there is no place for power and authority but only for service which involves self-denial and self-giving. “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man has come not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Prayers of Faithful:

 
For the Church: that we embrace both the dying and the rising in our daily lives and grow into a fuller sharing of new life in Christ.
 
Lord Hear Us
 
For our country’s national and local leaders - that they act with wisdom, adopt long term vision, and strive to act for the good of society.
 
Lord Hear Us
 
For people discriminated against, who suffer because of their race, religion or gender that we strive to build more just societies in which people’s differences are welcomed.
 
Lord Hear Us
For the grace to surrender pride: that we may honestly appreciate our gifts and weaknesses, and surrender our false sense of self to God who heals all weaknesses.
 
Lord Hear Us
 
For all with mental or emotional illness: that God will grant them strength, guide them to life-giving resources, and help them to live life fully.
 
Lord Hear Us
 
For all who are ill: that God will heal the sick, and that those who have died may experience eternal life.
 
Lord Hear Us
 
Let Us Pray in Silence (Pause)
 
Lord Hear Us

 

Prayer of Spiritual Communion: (St. Alphonsus)

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if you were already there, and I unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.

 

Concluding Prayer:

Grant, O Lord, we pray, that, benefiting from participation in heavenly things, we may be helped by what you give in this present age and prepared for the gifts that are eternal. Through Christ our Lord.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.