Saturday, October 17, 2009

29th Sunday: "we want you to do for us whatever we ask"

"Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."
-- Mk 10:35-45 or 10:42-45

"You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." If we ask with a divided heart, we are "adulterers"; God cannot answer us, for he desires our well-being, our life. "Or do you suppose that it is in vain that the scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us?'" That our God is "jealous" for us is the sign of how true his love is. If we enter into the desire of his Spirit, we shall be heard.

Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.

God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.

-- CCC 2737
Meeting Christ in the Liturgy archived homily for today:

Isaiah 53, 10-11; Psalm 33, 4-5, 18-20, 22; Hebrews 4, 14-16; St. Mark 10, 35-45

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When you pray, do you "ask for the world"? Don't stop there, ask for heaven as well!

James and John approach the Lord boldly: "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." Our Lord invites them, "What do you want me to do for you?" They have repeatedly experienced his supernatural powers and they have deep faith that he can grant their greatest wish: not only a place in the next world, but nothing less than seats at his right and his left in the kingdom!

St. Teresa of Avila teaches the proper attitude for us as we approach the Lord with our requests: "His Majesty knows best what is suitable for us; it is not for us to advise him what to give us, for he can rightly reply that we know not what we ask. "(Mansions, II, 8)

Our focus in prayer is properly the Kingdom, to seek the coming of the Kingdom as our Lord taught us. But the door to the heavenly reign is through suffering and service. The Lord will be glorified in heaven because he is the suffering Servant, whose suffering is the perfect offering which will take away the sin of the world. When we pray for a high place in heaven, how little we realize that we are also asking for a share in the cup of the Lord's suffering and baptism into his servanthood. Jesus is the Lamb of God and we are blessed to be worthy to receive him, to be"called to the Supper of the Lamb". (The Communion Rite in the Order of Mass.)

St. John the Baptist hailed the Lord as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for sins. The priest does the same in the liturgy, as he holds the consecrated host aloft and repeats the proclamation of the Baptist, inviting all to adore the Eucharistic Lord.

After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." (Jn 1:29; cf. Lk 3:21; Mt 3:14-15; Jn 1:36) By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel's redemption at the first Passover. (Isa 53:7, 12; cf. Jer 11:19; Ex 12:3-14; Jn 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7) Christ's whole life expresses his mission: "to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mk 10:45) (CCC 608)

If we share the desire of James and John for a high place in heaven, to be a great saint, perhaps our first prayer should be for the grace to accept our own share in the Lord's suffering, to accept the crosses that are given to us, not merely the ones we choose for ourselves. This is to be servants in imitation of the Lord and for his sake, not seeking a return but seeing in Christian dignity its own reward and the vocation to be "other Christs".

This dignity is expressed in readiness to serve, in keeping with the example of Christ, who 'came not to be served but to serve.' If, in the light of this attitude of Christ's, 'being a king' is truly possible only by 'being a servant', then 'being a servant' also demands so much spiritual maturity that it must really be described as 'being a king.' In order to be able to serve others worthily and effectively we must be able to master ourselves, possess the virtues that make this mastery possible. (John Paul II, Redemptor hominis, 21).

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Fr. Cusick

(See also paragraph 608 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

(Publish with permission.)

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