(29th Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 53:10-11; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45)
Selfish people are usually willing to make certain sacrifices to achieve their goals. Along the way some may abandon relationships and values in their pursuit of personal advantage.
If you could distill all your prayer requests down to one, what would it be?
We know that our prayer, even when we ask for what we need, must not be purely self-centered. In today’s Gospel, we understand the reaction of the other Apostles when James and John made their not-so-virtuous request to Jesus. He in turn, criticized the ten for their jealousy. Then he taught all of them the lessons of service and redemptive suffering.
The Beautiful Lady, who shared in her Son’s work of salvation on Calvary, described the painful situation in which she found herself. “How long a time I have suffered for you!” She was caught, as it were, between her beloved but offended Son and her beloved but offending people.
We have all read the account of her words and manner at La Salette. What about her interaction with Jesus before the Apparition? Hers was no ordinary prayer. In Joel 2:17 we read, “Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep, and say, ‘Spare, O Lord, your people.’” Mary’s prayer was surely even more intense. Try to imagine the scene.
We can join her in that prayer, as we cry, “Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!” We recite this at every Mass, as part of the ritual; but the more aware we are of our need for forgiveness, for God’s help in troubled times, the deeper will be the meaning that we give to those words, as we implore the Lord never to abandon us.
We can also offer to do our part, uniting all of our daily aches and pains, whether physical, psychological or spiritual, to the redemptive suffering of Jesus. As the author of the Letter to the Hebrews writes in today’s second reading, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.”
Jesus has already paid the price of our redemption. What Mary asks of us at La Salette seems a small price to pay if we want to share in the great mercy that is waiting for us.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.