Homily for 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Homily for 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Is53:10-11; Heb4:14-16; Mk10:35-45

By: Tobias Marko Gamera

The Gospel according to Mark shows us in the passage we today that the apostles and disciples of Jesus were by no means perfect.  The Lord had chosen them even though they were sinners; but in the school of his discipleship they should mature to the perfection of love for God and neighbor.

Of all things, the disciples of Jesus argue about hierarchies.  James and John, the sons of Zebedee, also openly admit this, because they expressly ask the Lord to be allowed to sit on his right and left in his glory.  The other ten apostles are angry and indignant at the request of the two; but basically they think the same way.  Yes, they are all still very imperfect and have not yet understood what the kingdom of God really consists of.

Jesus rebukes them in a clear yet loving way.  In contrast to the earthly power struggles in the political arena, where everyone just wants to rule, it should be different with the disciples of Jesus: “Whoever wants to be great with you, he should be your servant” (Mk 10:43).  And Jesus refers to his own example: for he, the Lord and Master, “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45).

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, opened a synodal process for the whole Church a few days ago in Rome.  Synod literally means “common path”.  The Church is on a common path as she walks in her history to meet Christ the Lord who will one day come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  But we should be companions to each other.  In the Church of God, it must not be about striving for power, but every office and every commission is a service for the salvation of people and for the glorification of God.

But only if we understand ourselves in the church as a community of faith and love can we fulfill this mission to people.  That is why the Pope wants us to listen to one another and that we listen to God together.  Respectful listening and being aware of others is essential for what a synodal church should represent, i.e. a church in which we are all together on the way to Christ.

Jesus Christ is already our companion, and therefore it is about that fundamental community into which we have entered through receiving baptism and the other sacraments.  We share in the threefold office of Christ, priest, king and prophet.  The common priesthood of all baptized is intended to express the holiness of God’s people; the special priesthood of the consecrated is to serve this salvation mission.  This is actually about following Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve.  Because we as members of the church fail again and again and fall short of the divine commission, it is important to call on God for his mercy and also to forgive one another.

But then we can walk out full of joy and confidence, because by virtue of baptism we participate in the divine life and are already grafted in an invisible way into the living vine, which is Christ.  In his opening address to the worldwide synodal process, the Pope points to the worship of God, which is central.  If we all give glory to God together, listen to his word and act accordingly, then we are a community of truth and love with one another.  Then the church as such will be leaven for society.  Because the people around us expect us to bear witness to God.  Even where we are contradicted, this testimony is important for the truth of Christ.  But love connects us with all who are called to salvation, the saints of heaven are close to us and, through their intercession, guide us to eternal life.