Today’s Scripture readings describe leadership as the sacrificial service done to others and offer Jesus as the best example. They also explain the servant leadership of Jesus, pinpointing service and sacrifice as the criteria of greatness in Christ’s kingdom.
The first reading is a messianic prophecy taken from the Fourth Servant Song in the second part of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It tells how the promised Messiah would save mankind by sacrificing himself as the atonement for our sins. Jesus did this sacrificial service of love for us as the Suffering Servant by offering his life on the cross as an offering for sin, interceding for us and taking our punishment on himself.
The second reading, from the letter to the Hebrews, tells us that, as a God-man and mediator-High Priest, Jesus offered a fitting sacrifice to God his Father by offering himself as ransom to liberate us from the slavery of sin. In the time of Jesus, ransom was the price paid to free someone from slavery. Sometimes the ransomer offered himself as a substitute for the slave, as Jesus did. The reading also speaks of a high priest who is able to sympathize with us in our weakness because he has been tested in every way, though sinless, and so we can “confidently” hope for God’s mercy.
Today’s gospel explains how Jesus accomplished his mission of saving mankind from the slavery of sin by becoming the “Suffering Servant.” Here, Jesus challenges his followers to become great by serving others with sacrificial agape love: “Whoever wishes to be great must be a servant." Jesus commands us to liberate others as he freed all of us, by rendering them loving and humble service.
Is 53:10-11 / Heb 4:14-16 / Mk 10:35-45
How often do we turn to Jesus in prayer with a very specific request? "Please heal my mom." "Please help me get this job." "Please ease my suffering." We can look at the request of James and John in today’s gospel and recognize the self-centered nature of their question. Jesus, rather than rebuking them, simply invites them into his suffering, and tells them that if they want honor they must become servants of all. Being fully alive as missionary disciples means that we, too, are willing to put our self-centered requests to the side. Instead, we can ask God to help us serve others (and HIM!) to the best of our ability. Then, our prayers might sound more like this: "Please give me the mind and heart to care for my mother through her death." "Please give this job to the person who needs it the most." "Please help me use this suffering to grow in love for you and others." Prayer is one of the pillars of stewardship, and is most certainly a way we can serve God and others!
Indeed, all parishes within the Diocese of Honolulu are restoring the Original Order of the Sacraments of Initiation between 2018-2020.
In the early Church, the person was immersed into the waters of Baptism, anointed with chrism, and shared in the Eucharistic meal as part of a single event. Over time, and for many reasons, the celebration of these three sacraments became separated from one another. In the renewal stemming from the Second Vatican Council, the Church was asked to more clearly set forth the intimate connection of Confirmation with the whole of Christian initiation. This original order also helps us recognize that sharing in the Eucharist completes our initiation into the Church and that it is Eucharist which is the “source and summit of our faith.”
Go to www.catholichawaii.org for more information on this