Weekly Bulletin

Sunday Church at Home – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
17th October, 2021

Sunday Church at Home

during the Coronavirus Pandemic

An Authority to Command? No, To Serve!

 

The leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

Leader:        In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply:      Amen

Leader:        Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All reply:      Blessed be God for ever

Leader:        The entire Catholic Church is called to participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops. This Synod is entitled: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” On  the 10th October, 2021, Pope Francis opened the Synod of Bishops in Rome. Today the synod officially opens in our parish and in every parish and diocese around the world.

 

Pope Francis has called the entire People of God to journey together.

  • This Synod is not just another meeting with oral presentations and written reports.
  • This Synod is a process of journeying together by listening, dialoguing, praying, discerning and making decisions together for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis is asking each local diocese to gather – clergy, religious and laity together- to listen to each other.

  • The “goal” of this journeying together is not to create a new vision or pastoral plan with objectives.
  • Rather, the goal of our journeying together is
    • to be present with one another,
    • to listen and learn with each other,
    • and to grow closer to the Lord and His Church.

This Synod of Bishops will take place in three phases, the Diocesan Phase, the Continental Phase and the Universal Phase, from October 2021 through October 2023.

  • The theme of the Synod, For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission,
    • anticipates serious reflection and action to deepen an understanding of the role of all the members of the Church,
    • journeying together with Christ as our Head,
    • in living the Gospel in our time.

 

Today in our parish church, the Sacred Scriptures were brought up in procession and enthroned on the pulpit. This marks beginning  our journey with the universal Church in the Synod of Bishops.

 

Now we continue with the Liturgy of the Word.

 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

 

First Reading: Isaiah 53:10-11

Introduction to the reading: Our first Scripture reading contains the message of a prophet who spoke to the Jewish people during their exile in Babylon. In four different places, this prophet speaks about a “Servant of God” who will one day deliver God’s people and make them great again. Because the Servant is frequently portrayed as suffering, Christians have applied this to Jesus. Today’s reading is a small portion from the last and longest of these four passages. (On Good Friday we read the entire passage.)

 

A reading from the Book of Isaiah.

It was the will of the Lord to bruise him;
he has put him to grief;
when he makes himself an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand;
he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.

The word of the Lord.

 

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:4-5.18-19.20 & 22 (R. 22)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. May your merciful love be upon us,
as we hope in you, O Lord.

For the word of the Lord is faithful,
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right,
and his merciful love fills the earth.

Yes, the Lord’s eyes are on those who fear him,
who hope in his merciful love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
May your merciful love be upon us,
as we hope in you, O Lord.

R/. May your merciful love be upon us,
as we hope in you, O Lord.

 

 

Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16

Introduction to the reading: The Jewish high priest was responsible for entering the holiest place in the Jerusalem temple to make sin offerings on behalf of the people. Several times, the Letter to the Hebrews emphasizes that Jesus is superior to any high priest because he has entered the heavenly temple, and thus has given us access to God’s “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 our confession.
For we have not a high priest who is unable
to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are,
yet without sinning.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help in time of need.

The word of the Lord.

 

Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Alleluia.

 

Gospel: Mark 10:35-45

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

At that time:
James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came forward to Jesus, and said to him,
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And they said to him, “Grant us to sit,
one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

But Jesus said to them,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Are you able to drink the chalice that I drink,
or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

And they said to him, “We are able.”

And Jesus said to them,
“The chalice 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 hand or at my left is not mine to grant,
but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

And when the ten heard it,
they began to be indignant at James and John.

And Jesus called them to him and said to them,
“You know
that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great men exercise authority over them.

But it shall not be so among you,
but whoever would be great among you
must be your servant,
and whoever would be first among you
must be slave of all.
For the Son of man also came not to be served
but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

 

Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

 

Homily

Muhammad Ali, the boxer, used to call himself “the greatest!”  He was notable for his bragging and self promotion.  Once he described himself: “I float like a butterfly, I sting like a bee.”  The story is told of him that once, when he was on an airplane about to take off, the flight attendant said, “Sir, would you please fasten your seat belt?”  Muhammad Ali replied, “Superman doesn’t need a seat belt.”  The flight attendant pointed to the door and replied, “In that case, Superman doesn’t need an airplane to fly.”

Today’s Gospel tells us of two of Jesus’ disciples who wanted to be supermen—to sit at the right hand and the left hand of Jesus in the Messianic kingdom– to be the greatest, to be the first   

Often we think of God as someone who helps us get everything we need. The great parent in the sky.

The Responsorial Psalm says it well: “Yes, the Lord’s eyes are on those who fear him, who hope in his merciful love, to rescue their souls from death.” (Psalm 33).

James and John say the following to their teacher: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” They rush up to Jesus. It a bit blunt, isn’t it, like children making demands. Jesus replies mildly, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Not a completely unreasonable request, I suppose. But rude. James and John have a vision of a triumphant entrance with Jesus into Jerusalem. They presume Jesus’ enterprise will end in worldly glory and they want to be up close to him to get a large share of the pie.

Moreover, the demand comes immediately—and I mean in the very next line—after he has predicted the passion. Jesus says,

“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).

Hearing this, the apostles do what you and I often do. They change the subject. There is nothing in their request about suffering, just glory. Jesus responds that they too must drink the cup that he will drink, or in other words, must also undergo suffering.

When Jesus was in his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane the day before his crucifixion, He begged God to take the cup of suffering away. He used the term, “Abba” (a familiar form of “father”) when he was asking. “Abba, Father,* all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will. (Mark 14:36).

And in another place, “during the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission (Hebrews 5:7).

Was He heard? Did God hear these agonizing prayers and then sat by idly while the passion and cruel death went right along?

These reflections put us directly in front of The Terrible Question, the one that has plagued humankind since its beginning. Why does a trustworthy, loving, parental God permit suffering and catastrophe even when he has heard in detail the prayers of those about to be afflicted?

Maybe loss, death and suffering are not the worst thing for us, even though they certainly seem to be. The worst would be loss of the source and essence of love, the never-ending love of God.

I don’t know what to do with the first reading from Isaiah. The passage starts by saying: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief;” It seems to confirm people’s worse fears about God, especially the One some call, “The God of the Old Testament.” God sounds cruel and even sadistic in this brief reading: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him.” It is saying that the Lord was pleased to crush the servant in his infirmity.

I cringe when I see this cruel image of God. Then I say – this is not the God that I worship. The Hebrew Scriptures – the Old Testament – are ancient writings. God did not dictate the texts word for word. The Bible is called ‘the history of salvation’ because in, and through it, we discover God offering us salvation and redeeming us continually, to lead us to himself.

Often the texts reflect our human feelings about God. When Isaiah says that it was the will of the Lord to crush the servant; I read it as being Isaiah’s feelings at the time. We are the followers of Jesus, and Jesus taught us about our loving God. When we read the Christian Scriptures – The New Testament – we encounter the God who is Love.

With this understanding, we look at the rest of the first reading. It says:

“when [my servant] makes himself an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand;”

Isaiah is saying that if the servant 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.

Suffering may well stretch and widen the human soul, making it large enough to know God, to act on behalf of others, to let in that which is greater than death or life: love.

Love stays even when life does not.

And then, we understand that God’s love is parental after all. God is allowing the worst in order to show what the best really is.

From today’s Gospel reading:

Jesus said to his disciples,

“Whoever wishes to be great among you,

will be your servant;

whoever wishes to be the first among you

will be the slave of all.”

Reflection:

Being a disciple is not about power and prestige. It’s not about the first places at table. It’s about following Jesus’ path of service, even if it means suffering and death. That’s a difficult teaching, no wonder the disciples were deaf to it.

So we ask ourselves:

  • In what way does following Jesus require me to be a servant?
  • If I am discouraged or feeling down, what are the sources of grace for me to deepen my love of God and of neighbour?

 

 

Prayer of the Faithful

Leader:        Let us bring before God those we love and the needs of the world.

Reader:

We pray for the Church:

that the journey to a Synodal Church may help us to discern God ́s will and to boldly carry it out.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for the gift of speaking out:

that we be encouraged in this Synod journey to speak with courage, freedom, truth, and love.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for our participation in the Mission of Christ:  that through our Synodal journey together, we may grow in our shared responsibility of the mission that is entrusted to us.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for all our children receiving First Holy Communion today/on Sunday:

that they may grow in love and joy with the presence of Jesus in their hearts.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for all who are ill or affected by Covid-19 virus: that God will heal the sick, strengthen those facing a long recovery, and renew all who are caring for them.
LORD HEAR US

We pray for deceased members of our families and friends whose anniversaries occur about this time.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for Charles Coutts-Trotter who died during the week.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.  Amen.

 

Leader:        Let us pray for the Synod of Bishops

 

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us,
make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful;
do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity
so that we may journey together to eternal life
and not stray from the way of truth
and what is right.
All this we ask of You,
who are at work in every place and time,
in the communion of the Father and the Son,
forever and ever.

Amen.

 

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.

 

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

 

 

CONCLUDING RITE

 

Leader:        Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

All say:        Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:        Most glorious God,
in Jesus you show us
that your will is to save.
Grant to us your people
the boldness to desire a place in your kingdom,
the courage to drink the cup of suffering,
and the grace to find in service
the glory you promise.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

All:               Amen.

Leader:        May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

All:               Amen.

 

🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈🕈

 

 

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.