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Theology for the common man

29 Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Prophesy, about the suffering of the Messiah, was known in the Books of the Old Testament. We have an example of it in today’s first reading. Of course, at that time, the current mainstream religious leaders of Israel didn’t accept this salutary version. In their opinion, when the Messiah comes he will lead the heavenly troops killing all the enemies of Israel, mainly the Roman occupants, and later on the Messiah will start to introduce the Kingdom of God. This was also the opinion of the disciples of Jesus, who grew up in this religious environment. And again, an example of this we can see in the Gospel today, where the sons of Zebedee ask Jesus to be put them high places in His Kingdom. The reaction of the rest of the disciples confirmed that as well. Each of them saw the future Kingdom of Jesus as that of earthly kingdoms, where one is replaced by the other with armed forces, and then positions of authority are distributed. Jesus however starts to fulfill a less popular way of salvation, also prophesied by the prophets in the Old Testament: a death on the cross. From this perspective it will be distributed to all the positions in his Kingdom, and not by Him, but by his Father. Answering his disciples, who expected the benefits of His Kingdom, He calls his way of the cross a “drinking the cup” or “being baptized” by his blood; then, everyone who wants to participate in this Kingdom has to have part of His cup and baptism. Not conscience of this, or a positive answer of the apostles, ready to participate in the cup and baptism of their Master, becomes prophesy of their martyrdom in the future. Ultimately, a humbly service to others, a giving life, a following Jesus, becomes the criterion to achieve the places in the Kingdom of God. Jesus' words confirm it in this way: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”.