for Sunday, October 21, 2012
When we hear this Gospel from Saint Mark, we reflect once more on the
humanity of the followers of Jesus. It can help us accept others and even
ourselves. The early followers of Jesus were not mystics or angelic saint,
but flesh and blood humans with the normal appetites of humans for success,
competition and power. One of the most wonderful aspects of the Gospels is
the refreshing humanity of our ancestors in the faith. These are people
who become holy and yet a so clearly models of the fragility and brokenness
Perhaps the goal of today's readings is to assure us that if we follow
Jesus, we will suffer. There is no other way to follow Him. If we follow
Him, it always in by the way of the Cross. At some point in our lives we
are invited to understand the cross of our Lord and finally to embrace it
without reservation. We can have fears. We can have a sense of
repugnance. Those are normal human reactions to suffering. Yet in the end
we must accept and embrace suffering for the sake of the Kingdom, for the
sake of our love for the Lord Jesus Christ and for the sake of loving our
sisters and brothers in this life.
The Letter to the Hebrews today assures us that 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. Jesus knows how to
suffer and His life shows us how to accept suffering for the sake of
Our readings today are not encouraging some kind of masochism or
self-deprecation. They are simply stating a fact: to live means being
willing to suffer for those whom we love.
Most of us choose to run away from suffering or to find ways to avoid it.
That is quite healthy also. Yet there is a point when we can come to see
the transformative power of a freely chosen suffering for the sake of
another. Once we begin to choose that, we begin to see the way of the Lord
with wonderful clarity.
Let us pray for joy and delight today at the same time that we pray for
this inner gift of understanding the power and the gift of suffering for
others. The first reading from Isaiah is clear: God will reward those who
are crushed for their love for others. Mark's Gospel echoes this when it
says that the great among you will be your servant.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 53.10-11
Second Reading: Hebrews 4.14-16
Gospel: Mark 10.35-45
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: