HOMILY of Aug. 25-26 BELOW- By Popular Demand

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Isaiah 53:10-11 II: Hebrews 4:14-16
Mark 10:35-45

35 And James and John, the sons of Zeb'edee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
36 And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"
37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."
38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
39 And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
43 But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Interesting Details

(v.35) James and John are two of Jesus most intimate disciples. They were with him at the transfiguration. This may explain the way they ask Jesus for favors, like children who try to get a commitment from an adult before the adult knows what he is in for! Their request shows their ambition, and how little they care for the others.
(v.37) It seems almost impossible that after Jesus predicts his suffering and death three times (since 8:31) the disciples still do not understand. How patient Jesus is with his disciples.
(v.38) The "cup" and "baptism" are symbols of Jesus suffering and death. Here Mark ties together two events in Jesus life: his baptism at Jordan and his death on the cross. Paul will later teaches Christian baptism as a dying with Christ.
(v.41) Jesus does not reprimand James and John immediately after their request for first places. Perhaps he wants them to see the consequence of their ambition. The result is the lost of peace among the disciples.
(v.42) The term "lord it over" is a vivid way of describing leadership as raw power.
(v.43) The term "servant," diakonos, literally means "the one who waits on tables."
(v.45) This is a description of Jesus as a servant: to give his life as ransom for all. "Ransom" means the price of deliverance or liberation, as in the release of a slave.

One Main Point

Jesus teaches his disciples about what it means to be a Christian: it is NOT to "lord it" over others. It is to be a servant, the one who waits on tables. And honor is achieved through one's suffering as a servant.


I imagine myself present with James and John in their "private" meeting with Jesus. As they have asked favors from him, so have I. What are the favors I have asked of Jesus? How would he answer me?
In my community (family, social group, church, etc) how do I serve others? Would Jesus have to say to me, "It should not be so among you"?
The disciples were shortsighted, ambitious, and selfish men. What love and confidence Jesus must have had on these men who went on to become pillars of the church. How do I look upon my brothers and their weaknesses? How should I look upon them?

Homily- Saturday/ Sunday   August 25,26, 2018

In 1981 the British Punk Rock group the Clash, sang a popular song that a think can be our theme song for todays reflections-  Should I stay or should I go… Should I stay or should I go…
What a week!!!!  WOW!
Some people In the republican party are singing this song after this weeks indictments as the presidents former aides are convicted or pleaded guilty to a number of felonies.  Some think even Mr Trump is singing this as the noose tightens around him. Will he resign?  Should I..
Democrats and Republicans feel most members of congress should be singing this, on both sides of the aisle. Should I..
This week as Chicago public schools are accused of not protecting children, with wide spread claims of abuse of children  - parents may be singing this- should we stay or should we go.
And one of the most serious and sad for us as church, are the grand jury reports of the widespread abuse in PA dioceses and the cover up by bishops. And the news of one archbishop from NJ,Washington- accused of abusing seminarians and then was promoted to cardinal. Finally defrocked by Pope Francis after the allegations.
We Catholics and Im sure many faithful priests are singing- should I stay or should I go..
This debate in our church has been going on since the first major indictments by the Boston Globe in 2002, shed the Spotlight on this horrific secret in the church not only in the US but globally. Many Catholics and certainly victims of this abuse have and are singing.. Should I.. 

Our reading give us some insight and maybe an answer to the question.

In our First reading- Joshua gathers the people together after difficult times of trial and attack. And asks the question… Will you stay or will you go?  Despite the problems, they cry out..As for me and my house….we will serve the Lord.. They stay to work on their issues with Gods help.

St Paul…focuses on the relationship of marriage.  In a society where 52% walk away from marriage in first 5 yrs, and stats -72% will walk away from their marriages. Those who have sung and answered… Should I.. left..  Do we work on difficult issues and infidelities in relationships with God help?
In this Sunday’s Gospel ,When Jesus finishes speaking about himself as the “living bread that came down from heaven,” many people react with disbelief and disapproval. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
While we would have expected those who were critical of Jesus to respond in that way, we would have assumed that his followers, who had just seen Jesus feed thousands with a few loaves and fish, would have accepted his teaching and stayed.
Instead we are told that many of the disciples of Jesus reacted negatively, they murmured, “Who can accept this teaching?”  “and many of his disciples – sang.. Should I.. and they answered by returning to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” Jesus was abandoned by a good number of his disciples. Today many disciples of Jesus also walk away from him. They no longer gather with their families and fellow Catholics to hear his word proclaimed and preached. Some see the Eucharist as something not worth their attendance.  And so they leave… For many different reasons. Some very valid.

There are some who have allowed their moral standards to be set by a changing society with fluid definitions of right and wrong. Where truth isn't truth.

Some Christians are walking away from Jesus since they find his teachings increasingly hard to accept and to live out in a society that keeps sinking deeper into sin, self-centeredness, consumerism, and immorality. A society that Pope Francis describes as having a “throwaway culture” where all things are considered disposable even the unborn, the poor, the powerless, refugees, the elderly, and the sick. Where a church controlled by an all male clerical subculture, concealed the unspeakable crimes against the most vulnerable.

As our society becomes more secular, materialistic, narcissistic, addicted to sensual pleasure, and financial excess, as more and more moral decay invades our political, entertainment, sports and educational  institutions and even the very church, we love. the more the teachings of Jesus and of his Church seem out of step with our real experiences. And we all can cry out.. Should I..

As a church, we are in need of healing, the hierarchy in need of a continued call to accountability and self-reflection. The church needs our voice for continued renewal and change of the clerical male celibate culture that fostered and covered up this egregious abuse of power. From the top down.
It has opened deep wounds for so many,  A priest was badly beaten until he passed out on Monday. ... at the Saint Michael Byzantine Catholic Church in Merrillville, Indiana. The man who beat him said this is for all the kids…as he was beating him.   There is a web blog..calling for the random beatings of priests in retaliation.
Yes we are angry, hurt, some of us numb, crying out…Should I stay or should I go…
I pray that we can come together and never forget what Peter told Jesus when he was asked if he would also leave, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”  

Should I stay or should I go…?  Let stay and always speak out and up for the truth.
  May God help us!!!

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