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Sunday Readings & Reflections

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TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY OF YEAR  B

 

Theme: LISTENING AND RESPONDING TO THE WORD

 

The attention of the author is on the figure of Jesus as High Priest, who has been at one with humanity and who is now with God in heaven. This is the first time that the author speaks of heaven. Jesus’ human experience was real except that he did not give in to temptation. This is an encouragement to the readers to turn their attention to Jesus and to go to him with courage since he intercedes for us as High Priest. The realities and struggles of life will still go on, but can now be faced from a new perspective.

First Reading: Isaiah 53:10-11;
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33;
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16;
Gospel: mark 10:35-45;
Resources used:
*The Sunday Missal, Paulines Publications Africa
*Painting: Poster No. 53, Pentecost – by S. Ajak Bullen


 

Approaching the Throne of Grace

In many religions, the way of entering into relationship with God is through sacrifices and prayers. Places are designated for this and are considered sacred. In these sacred places, people are more readily disposed to turn their hearts to God and to express to him their needs in view of obtaining his grace. In a society where the centre of power was the throne of the King, the image of drawing near to the throne meant having access to what one needs. The King, it is believed, is supposed to care for his people and to seek only their good. For the people of Israel, God is the real king and the earthly kings rule in his name (1 Sm 12) and he rules in his name.

The throne is one of the symbols of his power. In many African cultures, it is not possible or polite to speak directly to the Chief. You have to pass through a mediator.

According to the author of Hebrews, through his Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus is now with God in heaven (Acts I: 11; 2:33), and he is the mediator between God and humanity. God is seen as so holy that human beings are filled with fear and awe before him (Ex 20: 18-19;
Is 6:5). Jesus, the Firstborn, intercedes for his brothers and sisters, whom he has left behind (Rom 8:34). This is a typically priestly action. It is because he has known the human condition and is now with God that believers can approach God through Jesus (Heb 7:25) with confidence because Jesus intercedes for them. Where he has gone, they too are invited to go. Therefore, they are to persevere and not give up.

Some tribes of Northern Ghana say that if your mother is at a feast you have every reason to rejoice because she will think of you and let you enjoy part of the feast. Mothers never think of themselves alone. If this is the case with human beings, we can be sure that Jesus remembers his sisters and brothers and opens the way for us to God. However, he does not force anyone. We have to walk the road of justice, peace, concern for others, and caring for the weak.

Sunday Readings

First Reading Isaiah 53:10-11

“When he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah

It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.

The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 33

R. May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord.

For the word of the Lord is faithful, and all his works to be trusted. The Lord loves justice and right, and his merciful love fills the earth. R.

R. May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord.

Yes, the Lord’s eyes are on those who fear him, who hope in his merciful love, to rescue their souls from death, to keep them alive in famine. R.

R. May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord. He is our help and our shield. May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord.R.

R. May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord.









SECOND READING
Hebrews 4:14-16

“Let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace.”
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Brethren: Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The word of the Lord.

Alleluia. The Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Alleluia.
GOSPEL READING
Mark 10:35-45

“The Son of man came to give his life as a ransom for many.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

to Jesus, and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the chalice that I drink, or to be baptised with the baptism with which I am baptised?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The chalice that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptised, you will be baptised; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The Gospel of the Lord.



Sunday Reflections


TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY OF YEAR B

*Adapted from: “God’s Word for Christian Communities, Second Readings of Sundays”, by Richard Baawobr M.Afr — Paulines Publications Africa, 2009.


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