Homily Twenty-fifth Sunday Year B Humility and service

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Homily Twenty-fifth Sunday Year B
Reading 1:
Last Sunday, we read from the prophet Isaiah where he prophesied about one who would suffer innocently. It is called the Song of the Suffering Servant of God. Though innocent they would beat him and put him to a cruel death.

In today’s reading, we hear the same message but from another source, the Book of Wisdom. The one who is attacked is a just one who claims to be the Son of God. He is attacked because his words and actions confront his hearers for their wrong doings. They revile, torture him and condemn him to a shameful death.

Who is the author referring to and has it happened? How often did the leaders of Jesus’ day put him to the test? Why did they put him to death? He said that he was the Son of God, the Just One. While on the cross Jesus experienced the fulfillment of this prophetic word. The religious leaders and the crowd mocked him. They said: “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and save yourself.” “Let’s see if God will save him.”

What was more shameful in those days than to humiliate someone and publicly hanging him on a cross, stripped of all dignity? But let us not judge them hastily. It was our sins which he took upon himself. It was our sins which reviled him and put him to death.

Reading 2:
Again this Sunday we read from the Letter of James. What does James say is the root of our sinful struggles? It is within ourselves that jealousy and selfish ambition exist! But when the focus is the other out of love and concern from true righteousness, then there is peace and right order.

He further says that our passions, or what is understood as the seven capital sins or roots of sin—pride, envy, anger, sloth, gluttony, lust and greed—are at the core of our self-centeredness. When self is the focus, it is like the tentacles of a giant octopus, drawing everything to itself. Try to hug yourself. Is there anylasting satisfaction in that? But when we hug others in true love, what happens?

Last Sunday, after Peter confessed in faith that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus shared with the Apostles the true understanding of what was the mission of the Messiah. He would be one who suffered a cruel death at the hands of others but rise again. Peter objected strongly. Jesus corrected him sternly.

Sometime later, Jesus predicts a second time concerning his upcoming passion and cruel death. This connects with the first reading. Jesus further prophesied what the author of Wisdom had also said. Just as the leaders of the day did not make the connection, so the disciples of Jesus did not understand. Maybe they were unwilling to do so.

This time the Apostles didn’t respond directly, but only indirectly. Their focus was not on Jesus so much as on themselves. Who was the greatest among them? Does that come from wisdom from above or from sin within?

What is Jesus’ response to them? Unless you have a change of attitude, namely see things from a different perspective, you will not be able to be my followers. You will not be able to overcome the sin within you. Unless you totally surrender your life to me and give me permission to be Lord of every part of your life, you will continue to walk the path you are on and remain controlled by the sinful roots within.

What is needed is a humility and a servant’s heart. Becoming like a child in one’s attitude, depending totally on another, the Lord, trusting on the other, opens one up to the Lordship of Jesus and the Fatherhood of God. In this lies our true identity and true mission in life.

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