Homily for the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B

The Spirit of Service and Sacrifice

Readings: 1st: Is 53:10-11; Ps: 32; 2nd: Heb 4:14-16; Gos: Mk 10:35-43

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

Today the church invites us to reflect on our personal response, to Christ’s mission. It is a call to revitalize our faith and rededicate ourselves to Christ.

Today’s gospel is an account of the petition of James and John, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you. Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” This was a very ambitious request. However, Christ simply responded, by reminding them of the implication of their request: “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink? Of course, they responded, “We can.”

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So, through his dialogue with his disciples, Jesus opens our eyes to the realities ahead of us. By asking them: “Can you drink the cup that I must drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I must be baptized,” Jesus reminds us of the challenges ahead of us.

Mission is service and sacrifice rendered in love for the salvation of all nations. This love comes with patience and docility to the will of God. It begins by transforming us into a great instrument for the salvation of others. So, today Christ teaches us that to be great is to be ready to serve and to make sacrifice for others.

Hence, Isaiah reminds us that: “By his sufferings, my servant shall justify many, taking their faults on himself.” So, through service and sacrifice, we shall attain our own salvation. By liberating others, we shall liberate ourselves. By giving peace to others, we shall find our own peace, and by identifying with others, Christ identifies with us.

Today, the voice of salvation continues to call us to be more faithful to God’s mission. It reminds us of the great challenges before us today. This includes our changing cultures, societies and lifestyle that must be urgently evangelized and redeemed.

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The good news is that we can overcome these challenges through the spirit of sacrifice and love. So, in the midst of all these challenges, we must find consolation in these words from the letter to the Hebrews: “Let us be confident, then in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall find mercy and grace when we are in need of help” (Hebrew 4:16).

This grace is sufficient for us to accomplish God’s mission. Therefore, with the psalmist, let us pray: “Lord, let your love be upon us, as we place our trust in you.”

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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