Reflection: Twenty-Nineth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Is.53:10-11; Ps.32; 2nd Reading – Heb.4:14-16; Gospel – Mk.10:35-45]


It all started because the sons of Zebedee knew that Jesus had a particular love for them, especially for John who is quite often referred to as “the one whom Jesus loved!” They tried to take advantage of this and asked for a favour: to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand in his glory. What seemed obvious and simple for these brothers was not so for Jesus, whose reaction was that they did not know what they were asking for. And as usual, through dialogue, he tried to explain to them why He gave that answer. He asked them if they were ready to drink the cup that he was to drink and to be baptised with his same baptism, for which they answered in the affirmative. At this point Jesus tells them that there are certain things that are not for Him to decide, but for someone else – the Father. If, therefore, it is the Father who is to decide, it would therefore be a wise thing to try to know the Father and understand what relationship one has with Him!

Jesus gives the examples of “pagan rulers and great men”. He is talking about pagans – people who did away with God. These make their authority felt and therefore act as if the world turns around them! At the same time Jesus tells his disciples that those who want to follow Him must do what He did – be under the authority of the Father. He, the Father, should be the ruler and guide. Therefore, those who want to follow Jesus are to look at the Father as the centre of everything. In this way, the one who follows Jesus, keeping this in mind, becomes, like Jesus, a “servant” and “slave” to all. The reason is not simply for the sake of becoming a servant and/or slave, but because in such a way, those who are being served will be elevated to the dignity of man as the image of God. Furthermore the position of God is never touched and He would still be considered and looked at as the ruler and the guide of everything!

Jesus is presenting Himself as the model who came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. At the same time He is asking us if we are ready to follow Him and drink the same cup and be baptised with His same baptism. What is our answer going to be? Are we ready to follow His example and make ourselves servants of others? Are we ready to do so in such a way that we truly place our hope in the Father, as Jesus Himself did? Are we ready to look at Jesus as our model, knowing that He has experienced our own life to be able to show comprehension of our own fragility? Are we ready to humble ourselves to such a degree that we let Him give us the dignity needed to be great in His eyes?

“Lord, sometimes what you say seems to be contradictory… Sometimes you put two extremes near each other in such a way that they do not seem to be opposite to each other… Sometimes you say great things in simple words… At the same time Lord, sometimes we find it difficult to put everything together and look at the Father with the same eyes as you looked at Him. Lord, give us the faith that we need to abandon ourselves in the Father’s hands and learn what it means to become servants and slaves in your eyes!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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