29th Week in Ordinary Time

Sunday, October 21, 2018

First reading: Is. 53:10-11

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.

Second reading: Heb. 4:14-16

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.

Gospel: Mk. 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus 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.”

In other words Fr. Emil B. Pati, SVD (Claveria, Cagayan)

When my cell phone beeps and the notification “message received” pops up, I am alerted that a message has arrived. When I reply and the “message sent” notification is displayed on the screen it means the message went through. Our days are filled with outgoing and incoming messages. We call this communication, whether by telephone, text, emails, or even routine conversations. Awesomely, this sending and receiving is a beautiful description of our celebration today—Mission Sunday. The evangelist John puts it in a profound but different way when he wrote, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son so that all who will receive and believe in him will have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16).

Isaiah in the first reading calls this “the Lord’s will.” It is God’s will too that all who experience love should not keep it to themselves but share it with others. A line of a song aptly echoes this, “Love is not love until it is shared and given.” St. Mark in today’s Gospel makes it even demonstrative when Jesus gives preference to the Father’s will as regards to whom the privilege of sitting beside his son-God is allotted. Jesus went on further by making his disciples become aware of the essence of following him and the demands attached to it. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). We are reminded of a Filipino Jesuit seminarian who was sent as a missionary to Cambodia. One day, a grenade was thrown inside the classroom full of children he was teaching. Before the grenade could explode, the seminarian used his body as a shield leaving every school child unharmed and his body completely blown up to pieces. What a share of baptism he had with Christ!

In our Eucharistic celebration today we honor and recognize men and women of every walk of life who left the comfort of their homes, communities, and countries and are serving as missionaries and lay mission collaborators here and abroad. We pray for their safety and for success in their missionary endeavors especially those in difficult situations. As for all of us here, we are missionaries too by virtue of our baptism. Everyone of us has a responsibility to carry to the end Jesus’ mission here on earth. We do that with three P’s: first, P, pray for the mission. Second P, promote missionary vocation. And the third P, support the mission with our purses.

When you are on your way or upon reaching home and your cell phone beeps and the phrase “message received” or an icon notification pops up, be reminded that receiving Jesus in the Holy Communion you also received anew his missionary mandate. And when your reply and “message sent” notification is displayed, be reminded that Jesus is sending you as a missionary inside and outside your home.

Tags: Bible reflection, Witness to the Word