OCTOBER 17, 2021 — TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
IS 53:10-11; PS 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; HEB 4:14-16; MK 10:35-45 OR 10:42-45
Our readings today convey how deeply God understands our weaknesses and sufferings, and how we are called to imitate Him through humility and service.
Our First Reading reminds us that Jesus suffered for us — “through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.” Out of love for us, He willingly submitted to this to fulfill His Father’s mission.
Similarly, our Second Reading reminds us that the Son of God suffered, was tempted, and died for us. He is not distant from the reality that sin is among us, or that pain and sorrow affect us.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” We have a God who personally understands each one of us and what we are going through each day of our lives.
It is easy to forget the humanity of our God. We might view Him as distant or out of touch. Yet, these readings help us recall that the Son of God lived among us. He lived through the tempting of the devil, the loss of loved ones, emotional agony, and physical pain, just as we do.
Jesus doesn’t look at us with anger when we fall into temptation or abandon us when we suffer. He knows it is hard and He is right there with us in those moments of complete shame and suffering.
St. Paul reminds us, “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”
In our weak moments, instead of running from the Lord, we are called to turn to Him. For who could understand us better than the One who knows our hearts and infinitely loves us? He desires us to come to Him and ask for forgiveness when we fall, and for the strength to keep going when we are weak.
In our Gospel, we are reminded that Jesus went through all of this — becoming flesh, suffering, and dying — to serve us. Although He is God, He became man and surrendered His life into the hands of men so that we might be saved. The life of Jesus was centered around His Father’s mission and the service of mankind. And this is how we ought to live — in imitation of Christ.
James and John wanted to ensure they had a spot in heaven with Jesus. They were concerned about themselves in that moment, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus quickly reminded 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 ransom for many.”
Our culture constantly encourages us to do what we can to get ahead in this world, to do what feels good, no matter the effects — that power, authority, and wealth should be our goals in life.
Our faith offers us something different and fulfilling — a life of humility and service. As Christian stewards, we are called to live our lives in service of God and neighbor, just as Jesus did. Our life is not about us. It is about fulfilling God’s glorious plan for each one of us.
Jesus did just that and it resulted in eternal life for all who seek it. So, we must ask ourselves, are we living out God’s plan for our lives? Is my life centered on Christ and those around me or is it centered on me?
It can be difficult to know God’s plan for our entire life. He sees the whole picture — we only see the now. All we can do is seek Him daily. If each day is centered on Him, then our entire lives will become the work of Jesus.
So let us make it our daily mission to do the will of God. It will look different for each one of us.
Today, let us recall that we have a loving God who completely understands us and sympathizes with us. He is waiting for us to call on Him for mercy and strength. Yet, let us also recall that our God challenges us to be imitators of Him by becoming humble servants for God and neighbor.