29th Sunday Ordinary Time

In today’s scripture we hear about sacrifice. From the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, we hear how sacrifice brings about many blessings that extend throughout many generations. In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus tell us that sacrifice is the true meaning of discipleship and greatness.

What does it mean to sacrifice? Sacrifice is not just merely giving something up. It is not denying oneself for the purpose of suffering. Rather, sacrifice is an act of love. It places the needs of the other before the needs of the self. To say it plainly, “I will consider others before I consider myself.” and “I will be other centered instead of self centered.”

Furthermore, the reason I will sacrifice is not to only serve others, but to follow the example of Jesus who gave His life in sacrifice on the Cross.

Isaiah calls us to sacrifice in order to please God by serving others. Isaiah says this will have blessings that extend for many generations. How would this be possible? How would future generations benefit from this? I think it has to do with the approach to life that a family can establish for its members. If a child is raised in an environment and a family that is focused on taking care of others than that child well adapt that approach for life. And this approach is handed on one generation to the next. It is an approach of charity and love and service.

James and John approach Jesus in today’s Gospel. They have an idea of greatness in terms of the world view. The world defines greatness as power and glory and positions of honor. Jesus corrects this view. He tells the Apostles that true greatness requires sacrifice. It requires service to others. Jesus states the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served. This equation turns on its head the world view. This gets to the true meaning of love. When we give of ourselves out of love for someone else – that is powerful. That is true greatness. We are called to this level of service and sacrifice not only motivated by our love for the other person but by our love for Christ. Our desire to be like Christ should motivate us to approach everyone as someone we love deeply. We look for opportunities to take care of others whether we know them personally or not whether we love them or not. We do so out of our love for Christ. Then we are also motivated perhaps by our personal love for the other.

This is a tall order. It requires a change of what the world presents to us. We are bombarded by a message from the world that says we are to take care of ourselves and others come after if at all. However think about the people in your life. Who are the ones you consider to be truly great? Most likely people who showed you love and attention and kindness. 

Today let us receive the wisdom that comes from the prophet Isaiah. Certainly let us follow the definition of discipleship that comes from Jesus. Let us follow the example of Christ. Today be great. Great in your love kindness and consideration of others. If we do this then we will follow the example of Jesus. We will understand the true meaning sacrifice of power and of greatness. May we follow the example of our Lord and King. May we seek to serve and not be served.

First Reading
Is 53:10-11

If he gives his life as an offerings for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life.

A reading from the Book from the Prophet Isaiah

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.


Responsorial Psalm
Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 27

R. :

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

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.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
   upon those who hope for his kindness,
to deliver them from death
   and preserve them in spite of famine.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

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.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.


Second Reading
Heb 4:14-16

Let us confidently approach the throne of grace.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

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.


Acclamation before the Gospel
Mk 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel
Mk 10:35-45 or 10:42-45

The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him,
   “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him, “Grant that in your glory
   we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I drink
   or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, “We can.”
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;
   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.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
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.
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.”

Or: [Shorter Form]

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.
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.”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

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