Commentary on Sunday's readings: The glory of Jesus will be to lay down his life

Commentary on the readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B) and a brief one-minute homily.

Andrea Mardegan / Luis Herrera-October 14, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes

The episode of James and John asking the Master to allow them to sit on his left and right hand. "in his glory" is best understood in its context: it takes place immediately after Jesus explained for the third time to his disciples what would happen to him in Jerusalem: "They were on their way up to Jerusalem. Jesus went before them, and they were amazed; those who followed him were afraid. He took the twelve with him again and began to tell them what was going to happen to him: 'Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes; they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, spit on him, scourge him and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.

To the first announcement of his cross and resurrection, Peter reacted by opposing it; to the second announcement, they began to argue among themselves about who was the greatest; after the third announcement, James and John ask to receive the best seats next to him.

The two brothers are among Jesus' favorites: the Lord's predilection is not linked to the understanding of his message; on the contrary, he seems to prefer those who understand less, perhaps those who need him most. John will explain in his Gospel the passion of Christ as glorification, but at this moment, like James, he understands nothing. His question is an affirmation: "we want you to do what we ask you to do".

We admire the patience of Jesus, who makes them speak: what is it all about? The two are no better than the rich young man; at least the rich young man asked what he should do; they pretend to tell Jesus what he should do. Yes, they have left their home, their work and their loved ones, but they cling to the glory they can get for the privilege of being among those who follow Jesus, and they want to use their calling for the glory of themselves and their family. They do not understand that the glory of Jesus will be to give their life for love.

But Jesus does not quench their desire, but tries to direct it: Can you drink the cup that I drink? "We can"they reply. We do not know to what extent they understand the nature of the cup that Jesus will ask the Father to take away from him (cf. Mk 14:36), but he assures them that they will drink it. James will be the first of the twelve to die a martyr's death, and John will drink it under the cross of Jesus. But at Jesus' right and left will be, "in his glory," two unsuspecting thieves. 

The other ten are indignant at the risk of having their seats stolen. Jesus with patience and surprising optimism says: the mighty of the nations dominate and oppress, but "among you it is not so"! Whoever wants to be great among you must serve and give his life for love, like the Son of Man.

The Homily in one minute

The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanohomiliaa short one-minute reflection for these readings

The authorAndrea Mardegan / Luis Herrera

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