Gospel Reflections

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 10:35-45

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Rita Raboin

Published: October 21, 2018

While reading these particular verses today, which were offered to reflect upon, apart from the entirety of the reading, I was pleased that I had the choice to dwell on them in a more focused way. Jesus reprimands and challenges the very persons who willingly sacrificed so much to follow Him. Did they feel chagrin? Or were they open to receive his words of caution, to call them back to their original call to service and a particular abandonment within this call?

How comparisons and competition subtly appear  at times and seemingly coexist in the most unimagined situations. The temptation to judge, compare, compete is a human frailty that befalls us all. The hunger for power and influence looms ahead when this weakness takes hold of us. Jesus sees this then among His followers and expresses a different expectation. What constitutes greatness is service; tending to the other or to that which benefits others.

How appropriate for today! So much division and power mongering all over the world and starting right here on our shore. Simultaneous to all that however, are the ubiquitous signs of service among us. In the middle of natural disasters, First Responders, Fire Fighters, nurses ,doctors, neighbors in solidarity,  as we have seen one more time more recently with Hurricane Michael in Florida, Natural Disasters in Indonesia and another time in Haiti and still needed in Puerto Rico; volunteers at the Mexican Border  with immigrants. Hundreds of diverse means of service in impacting contrast to those seeking power even at the cost of victims, be they physical or political.

Who is serving who? Where is the greatness? Christ says to his apostles, "For even  the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,  to give His life…" vs. 45  Here is the bottom line. This is quite an expectation Jesus has for us! Independent of the vocation we follow, investing our energies and gratuitous love in a life of service for others is a call that never changes and always beckons. This message of Jesus calls forth the best in all of us at all times.

This month of October had several reminders for us of persons who have marked our hearts and our memories, who lived their lives in service. St Therese, Saint Francis, Saint Theresa of Avila, and on Oct.14, Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was Canonized. 

May their witness and the witness of so many people around us, serving in humility, fidelity and hope, generate an embrace of Jesus’ message for us today as we remember his challenging exchange with his own first followers.  Power has no place in the sincere giving of self in service to and with others.     


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