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Look For Me

The Son of Man Himself did not come to be served but to serve
Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33:4-5,18-20,22; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45

Sermon Week Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 10:45

In April of this year, the groundbreaking 1970s rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” was presented as a live concert on network TV. The star-studded performance received great reviews and an audience of nearly ten million viewers. In the "Last Supper" scene from the opera, the Apostles sing this smug refrain of personal ambition:

Always hoped that I'd be an Apostle
Knew that I would make it if I tried
Then when we retire we can write the Gospels
So they'll still talk about us when we've died.

Notice, in four short lines there are seven references to "I," "we" or "us." The one reference to "they"express the Apostles' hope that others will assign them an exalted place in history: "When we retire we can write the Gospels/So they'll still talk about us when we've died." The truth is that there were times when self-interest motivated the Apostles' loyalty to Jesus. Today's Gospel story gives us an example of misguided, "What's in it for me?" Apostolic zeal.

James and John approach Jesus in just such a frame of mind. “Master,” they ask, "we want you to do us a favor ... Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory” (Mk. 10:35,37). The "hand of God" was a symbol of the highest power and glory, and here are James and John trying to exact a promise for a share in God's power and glory greater than anyone else's. In so doing, they irreverently reduce Jesus' promise of the Coming Kingdom to the level of a political spoils system. In return for loyalty to their Leader, James and John demand the top spots in the Kingdom. No doubt they are dismayed and disenchanted, momentarily at least, when Jesus tells them to forget it — that He can't comply. “The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptized you shall be baptised.” He answers. "But as for seats at My right or my left, these are not Mine to grant” (Mk.10:39,40). Then Jesus adds, [...]

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