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Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

16 October 2021

Reflecting on Mark 10: 35-45

Oh, James. Oh, John. You were the eyewitnesses. You were called by Jesus himself, straight off your father’s boat. You were with him from the beginning of his public life. You witnessed heart-stopping things, like crippling unclean spirits expelled, and blind eyes opened, and a paralyzed man dropped down the roof so that Jesus could heal him, body and soul.

You alone, with Peter, were part of the privileged triad Jesus allowed to witness the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mk. 5:37), and the blinding light of the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13). How is it that, after your nearness to him, you didn’t grasp that to drink the cup that he would drink meant you would join him in suffering?

Remember when Peter tried to remove Jesus from that suffering, assuring him that he would never die a violent death? Jesus was looking RIGHT AT YOU when he said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan” (Mk. 8:33)!

That’s okay. We would have thought the same thing. After all, look at all the miracles! But surely you realized, that terrible night in Gethsemane, when you were once again singled out, with Peter, to stay awake and pray with him (Mark 14: 32-36), that when he prayed the cup be taken away from him, that cup must be terrible? And did you remember, then, how you had once begged for that cup?

We don’t know how you died, John. Tradition believes you lived a long life and died in Ephesus. But you, James, were stoned by order of Herod Agrippa I. According to Spanish tradition, your body was taken to Santiago de Compostela, where your shrine attracts Christian pilgrims from all over the world. And the cup of suffering continues for martyrs even today.

What cup of suffering do you accept every day?

Ordinary Time - Cycle B

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