for Sunday, October 18, 2015
Weakness, infirmity, drinking the cup of the Lord - the readings today point us to the necessity of accepting all of the difficulties in our lives in union with Jesus Himself. I say "in union" because only when we are aware of our relationship with the Lord as our Saviour are we truly able to accept all that happens to us in faith. Most of us need a deeper faith even when we accept believing. Thus our ancestors in the faith quite often wavered and had doubts and questioned God - and yet persevered. Some did not persevere and they are given to us as examples. Those who did persevere are not always examples of total fidelity to the Lord, but examples of a human attempt to follow the Lord.
The first reading today is from the Prophet Isaiah and tells us that the Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity. This is a reference to the Suffering Servant. The Suffering Servant in Isaiah is a figure of a person who was willing to sacrifice all for others. This becomes an image of Jesus. For us, it always poses the question: How much am I will to suffer for others? Jesus was willing to sacrifice all. What I am willing to sacrifice?
The second reading today is from the Letter to the Hebrews and again is a figure of Jesus: one who has been tested in every way, yet without sin. None of us can claim that we are without sin. The question this passage poses for us is how we endure the testing of our lives. There is no live of commitment to anything that does not bring about a testing of that commitment. It is the same question: How much am I willing to give in order to be faithful to God and to the ways of God? Jesus was tested in everything and was always faithful. We are tested and are not faithful completely. Do we really want to be faithful? If so, how much are we willing to suffer?
The Gospel from Mark today gives us this wonderful passage about James and John. They want to sit beside Jesus in the Kingdom. Jesus is clear that this is a gift that he cannot give but Jesus immediately used the question as a teaching: whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
So again we are left with a question directed to us: Am I willing to be servant and slave of all? If I want to follow Christ in the Kingdom, then I must be willing to accept this role of servant and slave to all! I might reply: I don't want to be important in the Kingdom, I only want to be in the Kingdom! It does not matter. If we want to be in the Kingdom, we must learn to serve, whether we want to be great or small!
My sisters and brothers! We are invited to follow Jesus Christ. Let us walk with Him and learn with Him to accept suffering and even death so that we may be with Him in the Kingdom forever.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 53.4, 10-11++
Second Reading: Hebrews 4.14-16
Gospel: Mark 10.35-45
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: