29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - World Mission Sunday

World Mission Sunday

Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-42


There are many things that make Chicago a world-class city. 

Many of those things are good. 

          They enhance the lives of the people who live here: 

                    culture and the arts,

                              the diversity of our neighborhoods,

                                        Lake Michigan, our universities, etc. 

Other things aren’t so good. 

          We tolerate them,

                    and we wouldn’t miss them if they disappeared.

One of those things is traffic. 


There are certain times of day when I dread driving on 55th Street,

          where our church is located. 

From about 6:00 to 9:00 in the morning,

          the street is clogged with cars, trucks and buses. 

                    Most of them are heading east. 

Then from about 2:00 until 6:00 in the afternoon and evening,

          the process is repeated, with most of the cars heading west. 

During those times of day,

          the traffic on 55th Street just crawls. 

I spend a lot of time praying for patience and safety!


While this traffic is certainly inconvenient and frustrating,

          it is also a sign of life. 


Could we even see it as a sign of greatness?


People are going to work, school and other places

          not only to better themselves

                    but to also improve the lives of others. 

Parents go to work early in the morning

          and return home at night

          not merely to get a paycheck and survive

                    but to also give their children opportunities that they never had.

Young people go to school

          not only to get a good job one day

                    but to also make a difference in their communities.


Jesus tells us in today’s gospel reading

          that greatness is not a matter of what we have

                    but rather what we give. 

It’s not about the kind of car we drive,

          but how many hours we spend on the road to take care of others. 

It’s not how about who serves us

          but how we serve them. 

Its authority is rooted not in title or position

          but instead in love. 

It is self-sacrifice,

          not self-promotion. 


Jesus reminds his disciples that he

          “did not come to be served but to serve

                    and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

He recalls the image of God’s servant

          that we heard in our first reading,

          one who literally becomes the scapegoat,

                    bearing the guilt of his people

                    and giving his life as a sin offering. 


The author of the Letter to the Hebrews would later describe Jesus

          as both the high priest and the lamb of sacrifice,

                    a double role of service. 

Because of his total gift of himself,

          we can “confidently approach the throne of grace

                    to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”


None of us likes spending time in traffic. 

But what if we used it to pray for others

          in the cars and trucks around us? 


They may be on the road to greatness! +