October 17, 2015

29th Sunday - B


Jesus' Patience

Today's Gospel passage reports the request James and John make. It comes after the third time Jesus announces what would happen to him in Jerusalem (10: 32-23). And this time, Jesus gives more concrete details of his suffering and death than ever before. [1]

With each prediction, Jesus moves closer to Jerusalem. There is also a progression in Jesus' selection of his audiences for the predictions of his passion. [2]

The first prediction of the passion was given to the disciples. Peter responded by trying to dissuade Jesus. In response, Jesus spoke to “the crowd with his disciples” about the call to deny oneself, take up one's cross and follow him (Chapter 8).

The second prediction was again given to the disciples. They then argued who was the greatest. Jesus called the Twelve and taught them about true greatness in humble and loving service of others (Chapter 9).

Today's passage from Chapter 10 follows immediately the third prediction. Here, the prediction was given only to the Twelve. And after their erroneous response, Jesus again spoke only to the Twelve.

There seems to be a progression here. Those Jesus himself has chosen and called seem in need of his patience and instruction more than anybody else.

The Lord knows them and their needs well. They are his friends. And he is patient with them.

He would try over and over again to teach them the mystery of his love, which reveals fully on the cross.

His mercy and patience give us courage when we don't get it.


[1] Francis J. Moloney. The Gospel of Mark, A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002; p. 204.

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