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Twenty Ninth Sunday in
Ordinary Time
17 October 2021

17 October 2021 Homily - Collapsible Text

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 17, 2021
Fr. Rick Lorenz

Isa 53:10-11
Ps 33
Heb 4:14-16
Mk 10:35-45

In today's Gospel, Jesus says, "What is it you want me to do for you?" This weekend, he sends his Spirit to the Archdiocese with the same question: "What is it you want me to do for you?" He journeyed with his disciples, and he journeys with us. He listened to his disciples with humility, and responded with truth. His question is before us because Pope Francis has opened a synod: an opportunity to listen to the People of God. The bishop of each diocese will consult with his people, then the bishops of each continent will discern together, and finally their representatives will gather in Rome in October 2023 to determine a path for the third millenium.

According to Archbishop Marcel, "A Synod is fundamentally a spiritual process of listening and discerning how God is calling us to be a Church in the third millennium." How the parish will be involved in the synod is an open question. Bishop Scott McCaig sent a letter to the chaplains of the Military Ordinariate. It has 57 questions and a due date. In the months to come we will find out how Archbishop Marcel wants us to contribute. For now, he gives us this goal: "It is a humble listening and a journey together which aims towards unity and understanding." He also gives this caution: "(It) should not be confused with a political process marked by power struggles." The Gospel shows how this can happen. James and John wanted to sit on the right and left hand of Jesus in glory. "When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John." Jesus reminds us that humility is necessary at all levels. "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you."

Bishop Marcel says that, "In creating the opportunity for listening, dialogue, and discernment at the local level through this Synod, Pope Francis is calling the Church to rediscover its deeply synodal nature." This synodal nature, humble listening and journeying together, is a sign of service, "For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." No doubt disagreements will flare. Discussion can be painful; to ourselves and to Jesus as well: "It was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain." But Jesus bears pain for our sake. We must not, in this case, be silent for the sake of charity. Rather we can put our thoughts forward with boldness, impelled by the Holy Spirit who made the apostles "into heralds of God's wondrous deeds." As Pope Francis wrote in Evangelii Gaudium: "The Holy Spirit also grants the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness (parrhesĂ­a) in every time and place, even when it meets with opposition. Let us call upon him today (in this Eucharist), firmly rooted in prayer, for without prayer all our activity risks being fruitless and our message empty (EG 259).