- Sunday, 21 October 2018 -
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings of day

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 10:35-45.

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
He replied, "What do you wish (me) to do for you?"
They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."
Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
They said to him, "We can." 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;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared."
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Saint John Chrysostom
"The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life"

By craving the first places, most important responsibilities and highest honors, the two brothers, James and John, were wanting to get authority over others, it seems to me. This was why Jesus was opposed to their pretension. By saying to them: “Whoever would be first will be servant of all” he uncovered their hidden thoughts. In other words: “If you are ambitious for the topmost place and the greatest honors, seek out the last place, strive to become the simplest, most humble and lowliest of all. Put yourself after others. This is the virtue that will win you the honor you covet. You have beside you a shining example: 'for the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many' (Mk 10:45). That is how you will gain glory and renown. See what has happened to me: I seek neither honor nor glory and yet the gain I achieve in this way is infinite.” As we know, before the incarnation of Christ and his coming down to us, all was lost, all was corrupt. But after he had been humbled, he raised up everything . He abolished the curse, destroyed death, opened Paradise, put sin to death, unbolted the gates of heaven to gather into it the firstfruits of our humanity. He spread faith throughout the world, cast out error and restored virtue. He caused the firstfruits of our nature to mount a royal throne. Christ is the author of numerous benefits that neither my words nor any human word is able to describe. Before he humbled himself he was known only to the angels, but since he was brought low the whole human race has recognised him.

Homily against the Anomeans, 8, 6 ; PG 48, 776