Reflections for Sunday, October 21, 2018 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Catholic Lane

Now imagine if, one day, one of the employees of such a company stood up in a meeting and asked the founder to make him a key executive over everyone else. Imagine him asking for the corner office and all the other perks that come with such a position. How do you think his coworkers would react? They had all worked hard! Why should this fellow get special treatment?

1. In the first reading, we see an Old Testament prophecy of what Jesus was willing to suffer, out of his great love for us: The LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity. If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.

2. The Responsorial Psalm speaks of putting our trust and our hope in the Lord and his kindness. and waiting on him. It begins with these words: Upright is the word of the Lord, and all his works are trustworthy. He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full. The Psalm ends with these words: Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield. May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.

3. In the second reading, we hear these words: Brothers and Sisters: Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 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. So, let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

4. In the Gospel reading, Jesus responds to both the inquiry of James and John who were vying for positions of honor, and the indignation of the other apostles: 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. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, 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 a ransom for many.

5. The meditation reminds us that in the Gospel reading, “James and John ask Jesus to guarantee them special seating when he comes into his kingdom.” It goes on to describe how “James and John missed three important points. First, they didn’t understand that Jesus was destined to be a heavenly king, not an earthly one. They missed that he wanted to build a kingdom focused on mercy and love, not power and domination. Second, they didn’t realize that Jesus had come to die, not to reign. He had come, not to be served like royalty, but to serve his people—to the point of giving up his very life for them. Finally, they missed the point that this isn’t a competition. Everyone who serves Jesus will be given a seat of honor in heaven!” The meditation ends with these words: “Like the apostles, you, too, are part of Jesus’ team. So, think about your role in his organization. How is he calling you to give your life in service to him and his kingdom?”

Maurice Blumberg is the Director of Partner Relations for The Word Among Us Partners, ( http://www.waupartners.org/), a ministry of The Word Among Us ( http://www.wau.org) to the Military, Prisoners, and women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions. Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men ( http://www.nfcmusa.org/), for which he is currently a Trustee. He can be contacted at mblumberg@wau.org or mblumberg@aol.com.