YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: A SHARE IN THE GLORY OF CHRIST
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
The Christian life is an invitation to experience in our lives as individuals and as a group, members of the Family of God, the mysteries of Christ; to make Christ palpable and felt anew. This unique experience and participation in the mysteries of Christ leads us to share in the glory that is to be revealed (Rom 8:18), for “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Cor 2:9). May God give us the grace to drink of the cup of His Son Jesus Christ; Amen.
There is always the attitude of reproach and resentment towards the two brothers, James and John, when we read, at first sight, the Gospel Reading (Mk 10:35-45) of today, with their seeming unruly request “allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.” On the other hand, it was fundamentally a noble thing for James and John to desire to share in the glory of their Master whom they left everything to follow (Mk 1:20). What else could be at the heart of the Christian life if not the noble desire to have a share in the glory of Christ? This glory belongs to those “to whom they have been allotted”, namely, to those who will drink of the cup of Christ and who will undergo His unique type of baptism. The baptism of Christ means to be soaked completely in the life of Christ. A share in the glory of Christ involves a complete participation in the life of Christ, in the mysteries of Christ which we pray in the recitation of the Holy Rosary; the Joyful Mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries. Perhaps, this was lacking in the understanding of James and John about Christ and His mission. In the Holy Rosary, the life of Christ is condensed by His Bride, the Church, and placed on our lips as prayers so that in our participation in this devotional life of the Church we may come to share in the mysteries and merits of her Master.
The First Reading (Is 53:10-11) is a prophetic presentation of an aspect of the mysteries of the promised Saviour that we sometimes find difficult to associate with Him and with the values He invites us to live. This part of the suffering servant songs was a clear indication of the sorrowful mysteries of Christ; the mystery of His suffering and rejection by those He loved so much and His death on the Cross, and most importantly the mystery of the redemptive values inherent therein; “by his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself.” In Jesus Christ we see and understand the redemptive value of suffering and sorrow and that as Christians, our lives must also pass through this path, as an indispensable tunnel that leads us to the glory that is to be revealed. For this, Jesus asked the two brothers; “can you drink the cup that I must drink?” The cup of sorrow and pain as is seen later on the cross, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from me” (Lk 22:42). From the example of our Master, we see that this path is not a fiction but rather a sure path to success, and while on this path, our confidence is all the more strengthened “in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help” (Heb 4:14-16).
As today the Church celebrates the World Mission Sunday, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his message invites all young people to participate actively in “the mission that we have received from Christ to bring the Gospel to everyone”, especially as the Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment is ongoing in the Vatican. A faithful and fruitful missionary is one who lives in his or her own life the mysteries of Christ and this includes the sorrowful mysteries. Against the hedonistic philosophies of our times and an increasing attitude that disconnects the Christian message from the Cross, from the Christ that suffered and died and invited us to carry our crosses and follow Him, the Gospel reminds us always that suffering forms part of the life we are called to live as Christians and that suffering is essentially salvific when lived with Christian hope. This must be in the consciousness of all Christians, especially of young people as we continue to confront the vicissitudes of our times bearing in mind that “for a young man or woman who wants to follow Christ, what is most essential is to seek, to discover and to persevere in his or her vocation.” This must be an experience made within the four walls of Jesus’ life and ministry, namely; His Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries.
May the life of Christ continue to inform and instruct us and to guide and keep us firm and steady on that path that certainly leads us to arrive and stay in eternity where our Head, Jesus Christ the Emmanuel, has gone before us as a forerunner; Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE