Faith Daily | 26 May 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p522
O God, who taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things,
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the same Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 10: 35-42
35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42 So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rev'd Jonathan
This Gospel passage draws attention to two disciples who are clearly doing the wrong thing. Swept up by the excitement of intimate companionship with the Lord, they seek to transfer the level of their current earthly status into permanent heavenly prestige. It is worth reflecting for a moment on the options available to a leader who is approached by two senior followers seeking to be promoted inappropriately and undeservedly above their colleagues. A particularly harsh response might be to tell both of them their discipleship days are over! Instead, Jesus is shown turning the whole event into a ‘teachable moment’ where the two disciples are shown the error of their ways but kept within the fold.
One mark of a great leader is the ability to stop poor behaviour in others from continuing, while still maintaining the best possible relationship with those whose behaviour needs to change, and this is what Jesus is able to do with James and John. Readers should come away from this passage thinking less about two disciples’ ambitions and much more about what it means to serve rather than be served.
Today, 26 May, is National Sorry Day, an annual recognition of the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report in Federal Parliament which ultimately led to an apology being made to all the indigenous men and women who were forcibly separated from their families in previous decades. It probably goes without saying that almost every part of this episode has been controversial: from the decision to separate children from parents, to the findings of the report, to the decision to actually apologise formally to those affected. There are some people who will feel that the apology was unwarranted and the annual reminder of it is unnecessary; others will feel that the apology was essential to the ongoing relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and that establishing an annual National Sorry Day was the very least that could have been done.
The intention behind National Sorry Day would also appear to be to acknowledge the past with honesty and to then seek to improve relationships through better understanding based on empathetic communication; seeking to enhance the skills and abilities of all Australians; and aiming always to create more fulfilling lives for the generations which are emerging. In short, our focus today on the lessons of the past is done so that we can improve our present and our future.
Holy Father, God of Love, You are the Creator of this land and of all good things. We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history and the suffering of our peoples, and we ask your forgiveness. We thank you for the survival of indigenous cultures.
Our hope is in you because you gave your Son Jesus to reconcile the world to you. We pray for your strength and grace to forgive, accept and love one another, as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your Son.
Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history so that we may build a better future for our nation. Teach us to respect all cultures. Teach us to care for our land and waters. Help us to share justly the resources of this land. Help us to bring about spiritual and social change to improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities, especially the disadvantaged.
Help young people to find true dignity and self esteem by your Spirit. May your power and love be the foundations on which we build our families, our communities and our nation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Hat tip: Sandy Grant). This prayer was prepared by Wontulp-Bi-Buya Indigenous Theology Working Group in 1997. Wontulp-Bi-Buya is the Queensland partner of Nungalinya College, Darwin, and provides indigenous leadership training for church and community.