Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Our readings today are about something simple and important: are about service. The first reading emphasizes God's care and comfort for his people[1]. The Servant intercedes with God for the people, taking upon himself their wrong doings and accepting the punishment their sins incur[2]… Jesus is the one who stands before the Father for us. Then, the Letter to the Hebrews notes that He Himself responded to the call from his Father to be a mediator for the people. And finally the Gospel adds that those who wish to follow Christ must do so not by seeking power and glory, but by seeking service[3].

As Christians we are all called to be like Jesus, called to bring God to others and others to God. Certainly, bishops, priests and deacons do not have the monopoly on bringing Christ to others and others to Christ. For example, the first teachers of the faith to children are the parents, not the parish priest. We all are obligated as Christians to take the initiative of bringing Christ to heal a stressful situation. If someone in your neighborhood is hurting, you have a responsibility as a Christian to reach out to him or her.

When we exercise our Christianity, we are responding to the call to be like Jesus. He was always concerned about the less fortunate, the grieving, and the persecuted. He was compassionate and acted out of his compassion.  He came, according to the last words of today’s Gospel, not to be served but to serve, to give his life for the many, so we are called to be like Jesus. Of course we cannot take the place of the Divine Mediator, but we are called to be like Him in the sense of having a word of encouragement for the depressed, or for the woman who is suffering the drama of divorce, or the young man who has problems with his or her sexuality, and so on.

If we accepted our baptism seriously, then we took upon ourselves a tremendous burden and yet at the same time it is light. Jesus said, Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Well, our Lord helps us bear the burden of Christianity, He helps us to be Christians, He helps us mediate his presence for others, indeed He helps us accept our pains and sorrows for others. He helps us to respond to his call of greatness through service.

Providentially I am very proud to present my parish community as an example. I don’t really want to mention names (God knows!) But here in St. Vincent de Paul we have many people who serve others, I see it every day: they serve God in the sick, in the kitchen, cleaning. These examples have to move others to think about whether we are serving, or if we have a good service attitude. The service is the best antidote for selfishness, for vanity, for envy.
In short: the words of the Lord this Sunday are a clear invitation to the service: whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. Here in the parish always need helping hands.

Maybe today the Spirit is calling you to do something for others. Please, think about it! ■

[1] Is taken from the Fourth Servant Song from the second part of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  This section of Isaiah, chapters 40 to 55. 
[2] This was written over 500 years before Jesus, yet it prophesied Christ's determination to accept the cross.
[3] Sunday 21st October 2012, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Isaiah 53:10-11. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you. Ps 32(33):4-5, 18-20, 22. Hebrews 4:14-16. Mark 10:35-45.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris