Homily – October 17, 2021

This virus has brought out the worst and the best in us; the worst in the men and women who refuse to be vaccinated or wear masks, the worst in people who harass and abuse health care workers at hospitals entrances.

The virus brought out the best in the doctors and nurses, the care givers and first responders who put their own lives in danger wearing themselves out caring for the sick.

Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served is enfleshed in these men and women who are with us to serve, not be served and have even given their lives in that service.

James and John were relatives of Jesus and felt they deserved more than the other disciples Family comes first, you always take care of your own. Taking Jesus aside they asked that he do for them whatever they wanted. Jesus was wise enough to ask what that might be. When he heard they wanted to sit on either side of him when he came into his glory Jesus basically said,’ ‘no way’ you’ve got it all wrong. I’m here to serve, not be served and to give my life as a ransom for many.

James and John were climbers. Climbers are everywhere; in politics, in business, in the professions and believe it or not, in the church. Jesus pulled the latter out from under these climbers. They got it all wrong. He came to serve not be served and to give his life for others.

Jesus is the suffering servant the prophet Isiah foresaw; a man of suffering, despised and rejected and held of no account. A man struck down by God. He was wounded for our transgressions and it is by his wounds we are healed.

Only after the glory of the resurrection did James and John get the message and eventually gave their lives as witnesses to Jesus.

At this Mass at every Mass we repeat the words of Jesus; this is my body give for you, this is my blood shed for you. Take and eat, take and drink. Strengthened by the Eucharistic food we are blessed with willingness to be there for one another, especially the person who needs our presence, our understanding and our support. Like the Jesus we try to follow we too are meant to serve in whatever way we are called to do so. May the bread of life we receive give us the strength and generosity to do so.