Mass Homily 2018 10 21

Clevelanddiocese Gospel - Mark 10:35-45 This week we study Jesus’ third teaching on Christology and discipleship. Each of the other two teachings started with Jesus predicting His passion. The …More
Clevelanddiocese Gospel - Mark 10:35-45 This week we study Jesus’ third teaching on Christology and discipleship. Each of the other two teachings started with Jesus predicting His passion. The first prediction ended with Jesus telling Peter “Get behind me, Satan,” telling him to remain a follower and stop tempting Him. The second prediction “the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him and after three days he will rise” was not understood by His disciples and they were afraid to question Him about it – perhaps because of His reaction to Peter after the first prediction. This third teaching also starts with a passion prediction, although it is not included in today’s reading. As way of background, let’s now listen to this third passion prediction and follow it immediately with the gospel reading. This is Jesus speaking: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over
to the Gentiles who will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death, but after three days he will rise.” (Mark 10:33-34). 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, Along with Peter they were the inner circle among the disciples. These three were the only ones present at the transfiguration, at the raising of Jairus’ daughter, and in the garden of Gethsemane. They should have known better than make the request. “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” In the parallel gospel (Matthew 20:20) their mother is the one who makes the request. 36 He replied, “What do you wish (me) to do for you?” 37 They answered him, “Grant that in your glory It is not clear whether they yet recognize that Jesus must die and rise again. They may still be hoping for a messiah who will salvage the worldly kingdom and reign in glory on earth. we may sit The request recalls Jesus’ promise of twelve thrones (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:28-30).
one at your right and the other at your left.” The places of honor when the messiah presides at the messianic banquet 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink The image of the cup is suffering and death (see Isaiah 51:17-22; Jeremiah 25:15). In Jesus’ case this is the third cup of the Passover meal, the cup of blessing, which started his passion – and the 4th cup, the cup of completion, which was drunk on the cross (the sour wine) which ended His passion (see Mark 14:36). “I bless you, Lord, because you have granted me this day and hour, that I may be numbered among the martyrs, to share the cup of Christ and to rise again unto life everlasting, both in body and soul, in the immortality of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among them this day in Your presence, a rich and acceptable sacrifice, just as You have prepared and revealed beforehand and fulfilled, for You who are the God of truth and in You there is no falsehood” [Saint Polycarp of Smyrna (A.D. 156), as recorded in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14 (written ca. A.D. 158)].
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” See Romans 6:3; Luke 12:50. Since suffering purifies the soul, Jesus draws the parallel with baptism which washes away sin (Isaiah 43:2). 39 They said to him, “We can.” This answer is full of irony considering their subsequent cowardice during the passion, although James was later martyred (Acts 12:2). 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; 40 but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” Matthew 20:23 gives this prerogative to the Father. This saying implies some subordination of Jesus to the Father and was exploited by the Arians in early Christological debates. For whom these places are reserved is not clear. 41 When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. This verse attaches the following teaching about Christian leadership to the preceding story. 42 Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. Leadership is described as raw power. 43 But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; Note the contrast of leadership as service to the previous image of raw power. Just
like the second instruction on discipleship, service is the key (Anyone who wishes to be first shall be the last of all and the servant of all) (Mark 9:35). The key to both passages is the Greek word diakonos (means “one who waits on tables”). [See Acts 6:1-6 for the ordination of the first deacons]. 44 whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. Even more humble than a servant 45 For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a

ransom for many.” (See Isaiah 53:11-12) Since the golden calf, the Israelites have been the slaves of God. They have been unable to approach God without an animal sacrifice. Now, through Jesus’ sacrifice, we are no longer slaves but sons of God (Romans 8:15-17). “He is our sanctification, as Himself being purity, that the pure may be encompassed by His purity. He is our redemption, because He sets us free who were held captive under sin, giving Himself as a ransom for us, the sacrifice to make expiation for the world. He is our resurrection, because He raises up, and brings to life again, those who were slain by sin” [Gregory of Nazianz (A.D. 380), Theological Orations, 4,20]. “He shared with us our punishment, but not our sin. Death is the punishment of sin (Genesis 2:17). The Lord Jesus Christ came to die; He did not come to sin. By sharing with us the penalty without the sin, He canceled both the penalty and the sin” [Saint Augustine of Hippo (between A.D. 391-430), Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons, For the Easter Season, (No. 231,2)]. Summary: Our attitude should be that of our Lord: we should seek to serve God and men with a truly supernatural outlook, not expecting any return. We should serve even those who do not appreciate the service we do them. This doesn’t make any sense if judged by human standards but the Christian identified with Christ takes pride in serving others – by doing so he shares in Christ’s mission. If Jesus is truly King, then we must be His willing servants, willingly doing His bidding.
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