Homily Twenty-ninth Sunday Year B The attitude of service

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Homily Twenty-ninth Sunday Year B

Reading 1: Isaiah, centuries before Jesus, led by the Spirit, prophesied about the future Servant of God, who would suffer for others. This Servant of God would do so by giving his life as an offering for sin. Through his sufferings he will justify many and their guilt he shall bear. Thus, the will of God will be accomplished through him.

Without knowing the fuller implications of his prophetic message, Isaiah was preparing the Chosen People for God’s plan to redeem the world through his Son, Jesus. His very name Jesus, means one who saves his people from their sins. As the Messiah, the Christ, did the great work of salvation by freely embracing death on the cross at the hands of others in total obedience to the Father.

As God is beyond our comprehension and as all that God does is beyond our understanding, so his will to become man and give his life for our life is beyond our comprehension.  He chose to be our justification for our choice of sin, for our rejection of the gift of sharing in God’s divine life. God could have chosen other options, but he chose this great sign of his infinite love to restore us to his divine life.

Take a few moments to reflect of this great sign of love Christ shows us. It is for my sins that he gave his life so that I could live in him, free from the bondage of sin in eternity.

Gospel: Picking up the Suffering Servant theme in Isaiah, Jesus defines is own ministry and that of his disciples. It is ministry of contradiction, a ministry of service. It is an attitude which goes against the desires and expectations of what people experience and are taught. Power and authority over others is the way of life of the world we live in. The more power over others one exercises, the more important the person is in the eyes of others and more the person is emulated. So the world thinks.

Jesus talks about real power through an attitude and a life of service to others.  He is not just advocating any service but ultimate service, namely, giving one’s life for the other. We see this in a person like Mother Theresa of Calcutta. But we also see in the lives of many, unsung heroes, who placed others’ needs before their own. We see this in a person who donates a kidney, so that another can a possibility of a healthy life.

But Jesus is not talking only about extraordinary acts of service but the day to day opportunities we have to imitate him in little ways of serving out of love, out of gratitude, out of response to him for what he has done for us. It is the little way of St. Therese of Liseux. She chose to do all things out of love for the other, no matter what it was.

To lord it over another is to be self-focus. To serve another is to be other focus. Service is an aspect of love, a manifestation of love. You can have service without love. Can you have love without service? Jesus is calling for an attitude of the heart and way of life that he himself patterned for us. Though he was the Son of God, though he was the Lord, he went out of his way for others. As Paul says in Philippians: “He emptied himself and was obedient even to the death of the cross.”

Reading 2: What is the focus of this reading? Though he was God, the Incarnate Word, Jesus, suffered in his humanity. Though he was sinless, he became sin by taking on our sins. He is our Mediator and intercessor. It is through him that we can approach the infinite God for mercy and the forgiveness of our sins.

We are taught two things in the reading. Because of who Jesus is and what he has done for our sake, we are to remain faithful to our acknowledgment of him as Lord and Savior and confidently go through him to the Father of mercies.

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