25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: Green.
First Reading: Wisdom 2:12,17-20
The wicked prepare to ambush the just man
The godless say to themselves:
‘Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us
and opposes our way of life,
reproaches us for our breaches of the law
and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
‘Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part
and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 53(54):3-6,8
The Lord upholds my life.
O God, save me by your name; by your power, uphold my cause.
O God, hear my prayer; listen to the words of my mouth.
For proud men have risen against me, ruthless men seek my life.
They have no regard for God.
But I have God for my help. The Lord upholds my life.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart and praise your name for it is good.
Second Reading: James 3:16-4:3
The wisdom that comes from above makes for peace
Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
anyone who follows me will have the light of life.
cf. 2Thessalonians 2:14
Through the Good News God called us
to share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me
Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
"Ave, verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine", "Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary".
At the end of this solemn Eucharistic celebration, which has seen the whole Italian Church spiritually gathered around the Sacrament of the Altar, we turn our thoughts to the Virgin Mother of the Incarnate Word, who made himself the food and drink of our salvation.
As we meditate on the sublime mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ, we would like to greet Mary, in whose womb the eternal Son of God became man. We recall this central reality of our faith every time we recite the Marian prayer of the Angelus: "Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis", "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us". Filled with spiritual gratitude, we call upon the Holy Mother of the Saviour, sanctuary of the divine presence and tabernacle of eternal glory.
In the past, Our Lady was the defence and glory of the inhabitants of Bologna and its surrounding region in the various joyful or sad circumstances of their history. Today she continues to help and protect her children in all their material and spiritual needs.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 28 September 1997)
1. "He took a child, and put him in the midst of them" (Mark 9: 36). Jesus' unusual act, recorded in the Gospel just proclaimed, comes immediately after the warning with which the Teacher urged his disciples not to desire the primacy of power, but of service. This teaching must have cut the Twelve to the quick, for "they had discussed with one another who was the greatest" (Mark 9: 34). It could be said that the Teacher felt the need to illustrate such a demanding teaching with the eloquence of an act rich in tenderness. He embraced a child, who - according to the standards of the time - counted for nothing, and, as it were, identified himself with him: "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me" (Mark 9: 37).
In embracing the child, Christ first of all discloses the delicacy of his heart capable of the full vibrance of sensitivity and affection. In it there is primarily the tenderness of the Father, who from eternity, in the Holy Spirit, loves him and sees in his human face the "beloved Son" with whom he is well pleased (cf. Mark 1: 11; 9: 7). Then there is the wholly feminine and motherly tenderness with which Mary surrounded him during the long years he spent in the house of Nazareth. Christian tradition, especially in the Middle Ages, often paused to contemplate the Virgin embracing the Child Jesus. Aelred of Rievaulx, for example, addresses Mary affectionately, inviting her to embrace the Son whom, after three days, she found in the temple (cf. Luke 2: 40-50). "O sweetest Lady, clasp the One you love, throw your arms round his neck, embrace and kiss him, and compensate with many delights for the three days of his absence" (De Iesus puero duodenni 8: SCh 60, p. 64).
2. "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all" (Mark 9: 35). The image of Jesus embracing the child conveys the full vigour of this principle, which finds its exemplary fulfilment in the person of Jesus and then, also, in Mary.
No one can say, like Jesus, that he is the "first". Indeed, it is Jesus who is the the "First and the Last", the "Alpha and the Omega", (cf. Revelation 22: 13), the reflection of the Father's glory, (cf. Hebrews 1: 3). In the Resurrection, he was given "the name which is above every name" (Philippians 2: 9). However, in the Passion, he also showed himself "the last of all" and, as the "servant of all", did not hesitate to wash his disciples' feet (cf. John 13: 14).
How closely Mary follows him in this lowering of himself! She, who had the mission of the divine motherhood and the exceptional privileges which place her above every other creature, feels first and foremost the handmaid of the Lord (Luke 1: 38; 48), and is totally dedicated to serving the divine Son. With ready availability she also makes herself the "servant" of the brethren, as some Gospel episodes - from the Visitation to the Wedding at Cana - clearly show us.
3. This is why the principle enunciated by Jesus in the Gospel also illumines Mary's greatness. Her "primacy" is rooted in her "humility". Precisely in this humility God reached out to her, filling her with his favours and making her the "kecharitomene", the "full of grace" (Luke 1: 28). She herself confesses in the Magnificat: "He has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden ... he who is mighty has done great things for me" (Luke 1: 48-49).
In the Mariological Congress which has just closed, you fixed your gaze on the "great things" wrought in Mary, reflecting on their inmost, deepest dimenison, that of her very special relationship with the Trinity. If Mary is the Theotokos, the Mother of the Only-begotten Son of God, how can we be surprised that she enjoys a quite unique relationship also with the Father and the Holy Spirit?
This relationship certainly does not spare her, in her earthly life, the efforts of the human condition: Mary lived to the full the daily reality of so many humble families of her time, she knew poverty, sorrow, flight, exile, misunderstanding. Thus her spiritual grandeur does not make her "distant"; she advanced on our road and was in solidarity with us in the "pilgrimage of faith" (Lumen gentium, n. 58). But on this interior journey, Mary cultivated absolute faith in God's plan. Precisely in the abyss of this fidelity is also rooted the abyss of greatness that makes her "humble and exalted more than any creature" (Dante, Par XXXIII, 2).
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 24 September 2000)
From St Peter's Square my thoughts reach out to the Marian Shrines in the English-speaking world, and with affection I greet the faithful who gather in these holy places to honour the Mother of God. Among the many Marian places of pilgrimage I mention in particular: Walsingham in England, Knock in Ireland, The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washinton in the United States, Our Lady of Good Voyage in Antipolo in the Philippines, Velankanni in India. In this Jubilee Year, may all of us feel more intensely Mary's motherly presence and protection.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 24 September 2000)
The beginning of the month of October is nearly here, the month of the Holy Rosary. In a particular way, I entrust to Our Lady the Consistory which I intend to hold on 21 October to celebrate the occasion of my 25th Year of Pontificate. Once again, over and above the set numerical limit, I will create some new Cardinals in this Consistory.
The candidates to be raised to the dignity of Cardinal come from various parts of the world and hold different positions in the service of the People of God. They fully reflect the universality of the Church, with its numerous and varied ministries.
We entrust the newly-appointed candidates to the Holy Virgin, invoking her maternal protection upon them and on their respective duties in the Lord's vineyard.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 28 September 2003)
In this Sunday's Gospel, for the second time Jesus proclaims his passion, death and Resurrection to the disciples (cf. Mark 9: 30-31). The Evangelist Mark highlights the strong contrast between his mind-set and that of the Twelve Apostles, who not only do not understand the Teacher's words and clearly reject the idea that he is doomed to encounter death (cf. Mark 8: 32), but also discuss which of them is to be considered "the greatest" (Mark 9: 34).
Jesus patiently explains his logic to them, the logic of love that makes itself service to the point of the gift of self: "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all" (Mark 9: 35).
This is the logic of Christianity, which responds to the truth about man created in the image of God, but at the same time contrasts with human selfishness, a consequence of original sin. Every human person is attracted by love - which ultimately is God himself - but often errs in the concrete ways of loving; thus, an originally positive tendency but one polluted by sin can give rise to evil intentions and actions.
In today's Liturgy, this is also recalled in the Letter of St James: "Wherever jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity". And the Apostle concludes: "The harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3: 16-18).
These words call to mind the witness of so many Christians who humbly and silently spend their lives serving others for the sake of the Lord Jesus, behaving in practice as servants of love, and hence, "artisans" of peace.
Sometimes, certain people are asked for the supreme testimony of blood, which also happened a few days ago to the Italian Religious, Sr Leonella Sgorbati, who died a victim of violence. This Sister, who served the poor and the lowly in Somalia for many years, died with the words "I forgive" on her lips: this is the most genuine Christian witness, a peaceful sign of contradiction that demonstrates the victory of love over hatred and evil.
There is no doubt that following Christ is difficult, but, as he says, only those who lose their life for his sake and the Gospel's will save it (cf. Mark 8: 35), giving full meaning to their existence. There is no other way of being his disciples, there is no other way of witnessing to his love and striving for Gospel perfection. May Mary, whom we call upon today as Our Lady of Mercy, open our hearts ever wider to the love of God, a mystery of joy and holiness.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 24 September 2006)
Today, for the customary Sunday Reflection I am drawing inspiration from the passage of the Letter of James which is offered to us in today's Liturgy (3: 15-4, 3) and I linger in particular over a phrase whose beauty and timeliness are striking. It is the description of true wisdom, with which the Apostle counters false wisdom. Whereas the latter is "earthly, unspiritual, devilish", and can be recognized by the fact that it provokes jealousy, disputes, disorder and every vile practice (cf. 3: 16), on the contrary, "the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity" (3: 17). These seven qualities are listed in accordance with biblical usage; among them stand out the perfection of authentic wisdom and the positive effects it produces. St James mentions "purity" that is, holiness, the transparent reflection, so to speak, of God in the human soul as the first and principal quality, placed almost as a premise of the others. And, like God from whom it comes, wisdom does not need to be forcefully imposed for it possesses the invincible power of truth and love that are assertive in themselves. It is therefore peaceful, gentle and compliant. It has no use for partiality, nor even less does it resort to lies; it is indulgent and generous, it is recognized from the fruits of good which it generates in abundance.
Why not stop and contemplate the beauty of this wisdom every now and then? Why not draw from the uncontaminated source of God's love that wisdom of heart which purges us from the scum of falsehood and selfishness? This applies to one and all, but in the first place to those who are called to be advocates and "weavers" of peace in religious and civil communities, in social and political affairs and in international relations. In our day, perhaps also because of certain dynamics proper to the mass society, not infrequently we note a lack of respect for the truth and the word given, together with a widespread tendency to aggression, hatred and revenge. "The harvest of righteousness is sown in peace" St James writes, "by those who make peace" (James 3: 18). But to do deeds of peace it is necessary to be people of peace, learning from "wisdom... such as comes down from above" in order to assimilate its qualities and produce its effects. If each one in his own environment were to succeed in rejecting falsehood and violence in his intentions, words and actions, taking pains to foster sentiments of respect, understanding and esteem for others, perhaps not all the problems of daily life would be solved but it would be possible to deal with them more serenely and effectively.
Dear friends, once again Sacred Scripture has led us to reflect on the moral aspects of human existence, but on the basis of a reality that precedes morality itself, that is, on the basis of true wisdom. Let us ask God with confidence for wisdom of heart through the intercession of the One who welcomed and conceived in her womb Wisdom incarnate, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 20 September 2009)
On our way through St Mark’s Gospel last Sunday we entered the second part, that is, the last journey towards Jerusalem and towards the culmination of Jesus’ mission. After Peter, on the disciples’ behalf, had professed his faith in him, recognizing him as the Messiah (cf. Mark 8:29), Jesus began to speak openly of what was going to happen to him at the end. The Evangelist records three successive predictions of his death and resurrection in chapters 8, 9 and 10. In them Jesus announces ever more clearly the destiny that awaits him and the intrinsic need for it. This Sunday’s passage contains the second of these announcements. Jesus says: “The Son of man” — an expression that designates himself — will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise” (Mark 9:31). “But” the disciples “did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him” (v. 32).
In fact, on reading this part of Mark’s account the great inner distance that existed between Jesus and his disciples is clearly apparent; they are, so to speak, on two different wavelengths so that the Teacher’s discourses are either not understood, or are only superficially understood. Straight after professing his faith in Jesus, the Apostle Peter takes the liberty of reproaching the Lord because he predicted that he was to be rejected and killed.
After the second prediction of the passion, the disciples began to discuss with one another who was the greatest among them (cf. Mark 9:34), and after the third, James and John asked Jesus to sit one at his right hand and one at his left when he would come into glory (cf Mark 10:35-40). However, there are various other signs of this gap: for example, the disciples do not succeed in healing an epileptic boy whom Jesus subsequently heals with the power of prayer (cf. Mark 9:14-29); and when children are brought to Jesus the disciples admonish them; Jesus on the contrary is indignant, has them stay and says that only those who are like them will enter the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 10:13-16).
What does all this tell us? it reminds us that, the logic of God is always “different” from ours, just as God himself revealed through the mouth of Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, / neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). For this reason following the Lord always demands of human beings — of all of us — a profound con-version, a change in our manner of thinking and living, it demands that the heart be opened to listening, to let ourselves be illuminated and transformed from within.
A key point in which God and man differ is pride: in God there is no pride, for he is wholly fullness and is wholly oriented to loving and giving life instead in we human beings pride is deeply rooted and requires constant vigilance and purification. We, who are small, aspire to appear great, to be among the first, whereas God who is truly great is not afraid of humbling himself and putting himself last. And the Virgin Mary is perfectly “in tune” with God: let us call upon her with trust, so that she may teach us to follow Jesus faithfully on the path of love and humility.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 23 September 2012)
Who is the most important? Jesus is straightforward in his reply: “Whoever wishes to be the first – the most important – among you must be the last of all, and the servant of all”. Whatever wishes to be great must serve others, not be served by others.
Jesus upsets their “logic”, their mindset, simply by telling them that life is lived authentically in a concrete commitment to our neighbor. That is, by serving.
The call to serve involves something special, to which we must be attentive. Serving means caring for their vulnerability. Caring for the vulnerable of our families, our society, our people. Theirs are the suffering, fragile and downcast faces which Jesus tells us specifically to look at and which he asks us to love. With a love which takes shape in our actions and decisions. With a love which finds expression in whatever tasks we, as citizens, are called to perform. It is people of flesh and blood, people with individual lives and stories, and with all their frailty, that Jesus asks us to protect, to care for and to serve. Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it. That is why Christians are constantly called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, before the concrete gaze of those who are most vulnerable.
There is a kind of “service” which serves others, yet we need to be careful not to be tempted by another kind of service, one which is “self-serving” with regard to others. There is a way to go about serving which is interested in only helping “my people”, “our people”. This service always leaves “your people” outside, and gives rise to a process of exclusion.
All of us are called by virtue of our Christian vocation to that service which truly serves, and to help one another not to be tempted by a “service” which is really “self-serving”. All of us are asked, indeed urged, by Jesus to care for one another out of love. Without looking to one side or the other to see what our neighbor is doing or not doing. Jesus says: Whoever would be first among you must be the last, and the servant of all”. That person will be the first. Jesus does not say: if your neighbor wants to be first, let him be the servant! We have to be careful to avoid judgmental looks and renew our belief in the transforming look to which Jesus invites us.
This caring for others out of love is not about being servile. Rather, it means putting the question of our brothers and sisters at the center. Service always looks to their faces, touches their flesh, senses their closeness and even, in some cases, “suffers” that closeness and tries to help them. Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people.
Let us not forget the Good News we have heard today: the importance of a people, a nation, and the importance of individuals, which is always based on how they seek to serve their vulnerable brothers and sisters. Here we encounter one of the fruits of a true humanity.
Because, dear brothers and sisters: “whoever does not live to serve, does not ‘serve’ to live”.
Pope Francis I (Homily, 20 September 2015)
We have heard in the Gospel how the disciples were afraid to question Jesus when he spoke to them about his passion and death. He frightened them; they could not grasp the thought of seeing Jesus suffer on the cross. We too are tempted to flee from our own crosses and those of others, to withdraw from those who suffer. In concluding this Holy Mass, in which Jesus has once more given himself to us in his body and blood, let us now lift our gaze to the Virgin Mary, our Mother. We ask her to teach us to stand beside the cross of our brothers and sisters who suffer. To learn to see Jesus in every person bent low on the path of life, in all our brothers and sisters who hunger or thirst, who are naked or in prison or sick. With Mary our Mother, on the cross we can see who is truly “the greatest” and what it means to stand beside the Lord and to share in his glory.
Let us learn from Mary to keep our hearts awake and attentive to the needs of others. As the wedding feast of Cana teaches us, let us be concerned for the little details of life, and let us not tire of praying for one another, so that no one will lack the new wine of love, the joy which Jesus brings us.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 20 September 2015)
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Compiled on 23 September 2018