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29 Sunday B October 21 Homilies

29 Sunday B October 21 Homilies

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Published by: tonykayal on Oct 16, 2012
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29 Sunday B October 21 Homilies
Andrew Greeley:Background:
The apostles simply didn't get. No matter how many times Jesus told them that the kingdomhe was restoring was not the old military and nationalist kingdom that the people wanted, buta kingdom in which humans reflected God's forgiving love, they never got the point.What other kind of kingdom was there besides one like David and Solomon ran? OK, Jesuswas David or Solomon or maybe even someone better.What kind of jobs would they have in the new nobility of this new kingdom? They had madea lot of sacrifices for Jesus, what were they going to have in return. In the immortal words of city politics, they asked, "Where's ours?" Jesus told them what it would be, but they stilldidn't understand.
Once upon a time, a widow in her early 70s began thinking about moving from the bigfamily home to a smaller, more manageable residence. One day when youngest daughter wasvisiting and began playing the piano, the mom told her that when she did move, this daughtercould have the piano.Now when the other children heard this, they began to worry among themselves about howtheir mother would split up the family treasures. Several of them thought they should havebeen consulted about the piano. After all, they had children who would like to have a piano.
Eventually, the widow got wind of her children’s concerns and decided to f ace the issue
head on. She called them together and told them, in a gentle way, that her things were hers todecide how she wanted them distributed. What she did with these things had nothing to dowith her love for each of them and she was disappointed that they felt that was the case. Shehad promised the piano to their youngest sister because she was the one who had been mostdedicated to practice and seemed to love music. She hoped they knew that she loved each of them and that they would not consider who got what of her things as the sing of her love.After they left, the widow sadly wondered what more she had to do to help her childrenknow of her love for them.
 It is a remarkable fact that in Mark, the first of the gospels, one of the consistent themes isthat of the incomprehension of the disciples. Again and again they fail to understand whatJesus is talking about and they are also portrayed as being afraid to ask him. They arepresented as somewhat self-seeking and dull and at times even Jesus becomes exasperatedwith them (8:14-21). In choosing to present them this way, perhaps Mark was trying to tell ussomething: take time to recognise yourselves in this portrait of the disciples. The good newsis indeed good but it challenges the values that we take for granted and are very much part
and parcel of the world we live in. So when we choose the way of the gospel we should notbe surprised that it involves a steep learning curve and we may well turn out to be slowlearners!
Michel DeVerteuil
Textual comments
There are two distinct sections in this passage:- verses 35 to 40: the encounter between Jesus and the sons of Zebedee; and- verses 41 to 45: his teaching on service.The dialogue wit the sons of Zebedee is very dramatic, with plenty of significant details. Asusual with gospel stories, fee free to focus either on Jesus or on the people who come to him.James and John are typical of young, enthusiastic followers of any cause
very ambitious,but also very committed and ready for everything. Note how they are confident: they canaccept the challenges, even if they do not see clearly what they entail.The portrayal of Jesus is very touching: his respect for the young men, the way he takes themseriously, the way he challenges them and reassures them simultaneously. His humility isremarkable as he disclaims the authority to give final rewards.
As in last week’s passage, Jesus is the model for civil as w
ell as religious leaders, and the twobrothers can be the church community or the nation.Verse 45 is very deep and can be read by itself. Enter into the metaphor of the ransom, askingyourself how this ancient practice of buying back slaves is lived today when people givethemselves to the work of human liberation, with the life of Jesus as the model.
Thomas O'Loughlin
Today we reflect on how Jesus came among us. He came as the one sent by the Father tobring us new life, yet he came among us as seeking to serve rather than to be served. Wereflect also that for us, his followers, his way of life sets us a pattern for how we should live.In a world filled with the suffering caused by power struggles Jesus reminds us that ourcommunity here must display a different way of being human: 'Anyone who wants to becomegreat among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must beservant of all.'
Sean Goan
The story of the apostles James and John continues with the theme of discipleship in thissection of Mark. To appreciate what unfolds here it is important to remember that in the twochapters before this Jesus has consistently challenged his disciples with the core values of thekingdom.They are to become like children, like servants; they are to give up all attachments; they areto be willing to take up their cross and follow and all this in the context of three predictions
of the passion. So it is with that backdrop that James and John coming looking for specialstatus in Jesus' future glory. The extent of their complete incomprehension is baffling butJesus shows great patience with them and points out that they will indeed share his future butthe glory they seek is not his to give. It would be heartening to think that the other ten wereannoyed with James and John for the folly of their question but it might be more realistic tobelieve their concern was that they might have been upstaged by the other two. So whenJesus gathers them around him it is to tell them once again that in the kingdom of God theexercise of power bears no resemblance to what takes place in the world around them. Truegreatness lies in service and their model for this is Jesus himself.
Homily Notes
1. The values of the kingdom are exactly opposite to those of the world of power politics,social climbing, and vain display. We all know this, yet generations come and generations goby, and we still import titles of honour, displays of prestige, and even the jargon of imperialRome, the cursus honorum, into the church. The pope may take the title 'servant of theservants', but a look at the pomp and circumstance surrounding the papal ceremonies suggeststhat the need for a power display outweighs theology. Bishops are to be servants, but 'for thepeople's sake' they wear the last remnants of imperial purple. Clergy are called to take onextra ministry over and above the ministry of the baptised, but in exchange they get a rangeof titles all suitably graded so that everyone from a newly ordained deacon to Vicar Generalknows exactly which rung each is on.Reading this Gospel should make us all mightily embarrassed!2. When John in his gospel wanted to convey the same message lie did not have a littleteaching scene like this one we read today; rather he had Jesus get up and wash the feet of hisdisciples with all the messiness and embarrassment that goes with such an act of service.Moreover, we know that foot washing was one of the ways that Christians in the earlychurches learned how they should see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ (e.g. 1 Tim5:10). Indeed, it survived as a rite used regularly in some monasteries and by bishops on HolyThursday. Now it has a formal place in the liturgy of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday
 although it is still such a shocking message that it is always in danger of being simplyskipped or turned into a token affair.3. Given that the gospel should make any cleric uncomfortable, and anything one says aboutthe gospel is likely to be taken as hypocritical self-justification, a better commentary on thegospel is to actually perform the action Jesus carried out and wished us to carry out inimitation of him.Therefore, introduce the actual practice of foot washing
many in any average congregationwill never have seen it or will not remember it from Holy Thursday
and then wash the feetof a group of the community.Meanwhile, have these words from John read as a commentary on the action taking place:When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said tothem, 'Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you areright, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought towash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I havedone to you.Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greaterthan he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them' On 13:12-

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