29th Sunday Ordinary Time Mass and Reflections

Scripture readings for Sunday's Mass are here

Various reflections from St Louis Centre for Liturgy are here,

including this excellent one from Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

 Servant of The World

This recent reflection from Pastor Roger Karban forms part of a trilogy- (the other two reflections can be accessed from NCR here. )  

It gives an extra perspective to this Sunday's extract from Mark's gospel, by telling us that at this time, Jesus has about a week to live. 
The author goes on: "No wonder his disciples are both amazed and afraid. What he says has deep implications for each of them. 

Yet, in spite of this, James and John come up with a classic misunderstanding of Christian faith. “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”

The heart of Christian faith lies in Jesus’ clarification of what it means to die with him. 

“You know 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 give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark’s first way of dying with Jesus is to be completely open to whatever God asks; his second, to accept even the most insignificant persons into our communities on an equal footing with everyone else. His third revolves around how we look at our entire lives, our purpose for being on Earth." You can read the complete reflection here.

My own post on the Gospel from last year is here.

"Gathered at the Passover feast, the disciples were keenly aware that someone needed to wash the other’s feet. 

The problem was that the only people who washed feet were the least. 

So there they sat, feet caked with dirt.

 It was such a sore point that they were not even going to talk about it. 

No one wanted to be considered the least. 

Then Jesus took the towel and a basin and redefined greatness. "

Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
                                                                                              Image source

The Servant Song 

I love this song but would add that it's not just brothers on the road - it's sisters too !

Two hard hitting articles below give much food for reflection.
Great leaders are not impressed with themselves
The sickness of leadership 

and interesting perspective on the hijacking of the term "servant leadership " in institutions.

Jesus' message on descent and suffering, in Mark's gospel this Sunday are uncomfortable to read but are integral parts of discipleship .

 This message below from Fr. Richard Rohr talks about something similar in Luke's Gospel : the sign of Jonah is also a story we have to integrate in our own lives.
"Luke illustrates Jesus’ message with a central metaphor: “the sign of Jonah” (Luke 11:29-32). Without the sign of Jonah—the pattern of new life only through death—Christianity remains a largely impotent ideology, another way to “win” instead of how to turn all failure around. 
Christianity, reflecting cultures, largely became a language and practice of ascent instead of the treacherous journey of descent that characterizes Jonah, Jeremiah, Job, John the Baptizer, and Jesus himself.
 All falling is potentially and ideally “upward”! Jesus redeems and transforms all human failure and utterly democratizes the human journey.
Unfortunately the “way of the cross” became “what Jesus did to save us”—or even a necessary heavenly transaction (“atonement theology”)—instead of the necessary pattern that is necessary and redemptive for all of us here and now.
Basically, what Jesus is teaching and living is this: Do not trust any spiritual teaching which does not lead you into the belly of the whale at least once—and lead you out the other side with a deeper message and a very clear God identity. The “sign of Jonah” is the “only” sign (11:29) that Jesus says he will give us. It is rather amazing that the ego has been able to avoid this totally clear message from both Jesus’ life and Luke’s Gospel. Many spiritual teachers and leaders, and even clergy, have spent their whole life avoiding such suffering and failure. One wonders what their witness to resurrection might be."

All I Once Held Dear Robin Mark 


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