2018-03-18 Homily. Fr. François Beyrouti. "What I want and why I want it"
What I want and why I want it. Homily. Father François Beyrouti.
Sunday, March 18, 2018.
Sunday, March 18, 2018.
Sunday of our Venerable Mother Mary of Egypt
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Epistle of 5th Sunday of Lent, Hebrews 9:11-14
PROKIMENON (Tone 8) Ps.75: 12, 2
Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; let all round about
bring gifts to the awesome God.
Stichon: God is renowned in Judah; in Israel great is his name.
Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews
BRETHREN, when Christ appeared as the high priest of the good things
to come (Cf.Lv.16: 14; 19: 4), he entered once for all through the
greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands (that is, not
as a part of the present creation), nor again by virtue of blood of
goats and calves, but by virtue of his own blood, into the sanctuary,
having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and
bulls and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer sanctify the unclean for the
cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ (Cf.
Rv. I: 5), who through the Holy Spirit offered himself unblemished to
God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!
ALLELUIA (Tone 8)
Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord; let us acclaim the Rock of our
Stichon: Let us greet him with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
Gospel: 5th Sunday of Lent, Mark 10: 32-45 (The greatest in the Kingdom)
At that time Jesus took the Twelve, and began to tell them what would
happen to him, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the
Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the Scribes; and
they will condemn him to death, and will deliver him to the Gentiles;
and they will mock him, and spit upon him and scourge him, and put him
to death; and on the third day he will rise again.” And James and
John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him, saying, “Master, we want thee
to do for us whatever we ask.” But he said to them, “What do you want
me to do for you?” And they said, “Grant to us that we may sit, one at
thy right hand and the other at thy left hand, in thy glory.” But
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking for. Can you
drink of the cup of which I drink, or be baptized with the baptism
with which I am to be baptized?” And they said to him, “We can.” And
Jesus said to them “Of the cup that I drink, you shall drink; and with
the baptism with which I am to be baptized, you shall be baptized; but
as for sitting at my right hand or at my left, that is not mine to
give, but it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared.” And when
the ten heard this, they were at first indignant at James and John.
But Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that those who are
regarded as rulers among the Gentiles I lord it over them, and their
great men exercise authority over them. But it is not so among you. On
the contrary, whoever wishes to become great shall be your servant;
and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be the slave of all;
for the Son of Man also has not come to be served but to serve, and to
give his life as a ransom for many.”
One of the most common phrases we use is “I want.”
If you’re fasting, one of the first things you’re going to do after
Easter is to go to “In-n-out” and wait for someone to ask you “What do
You’re going to say: “I want a burger. Actually I want a double, and I
want extra cheese, and I want an extra tomato.” From there your
imagination can go wild as you tell the cashier what you want.
The phrase “I want” is good because it is important to know “what I
want to eat,” “what I want to drink,” “what I want to wear,” “what I
want to study,” and “what I want to do.”
The famous artist, Pablo Picasso, said: “Our goals can only be reached
through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and
upon which we must vigorously act.”
Those who do well in life know what they want and they also work hard to get it.
However, in our spiritual life we have to ask ourselves not only “what
I want” but more important “why I want?”
If we do not also ask “why I want?” we will become too self-centered.
When we think of our spiritual life, we have to always see “what I
want” in relation to how “what I want” will help me develop the gifts
that God gave me. From here we move to try to understand how God wants
us to use those gifts for the good of others.
Throughout Jesus’s ministry, He was clear about what He wanted and why
He wanted it.
In today’s Gospel we see a great contrast between two radically
different “I wants.”
First, Jesus tells his disciples that He will be: “delivered to the
chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and
deliver him to the Gentiles;  and they will mock him, and spit
upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will
rise” (Mark 10:33-34).
Maybe some of the disciples were listening but it seems that James and
John were not because they did not focus on what Jesus said but on
what they want.
Immediately they tell Jesus: “Teacher, we want you to do for us
whatever we ask of you.…  “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand
and one at your left, in your glory” (Mark 10:35, 37). Jesus speaks
about an “I want” that accepts humiliation and death, while James and
John speak of an “I want” that consists of personal glory and earthly
We should challenge ourselves daily to discover what God wants to tell
us as we read the Bible and what God wants to tell us as we pray.
Many people only think about God when they want something. They spend
their whole time telling God what they want Him to do for them, rather
than reflecting on what God wants from them.
Palm Sunday is in a week and Easter is in two Sundays. During these
last two weeks of fasting it is important for all of us to ask
ourselves whether what we want in life is connected to what God wants
There may be many earthly things that we want but it is always good
for us to ask ourselves why we want these things. Do we want them only
for our personal comfort and convenience or do we want things for a
greater good that is connected to serving God?
Do I want more money so I can help more people or to simply to show
off about the extra toys I have? Do I want to study to gain knowledge
or for other reasons?
On a daily basis and especially when we come to Church, it is
important to pray for wisdom and to specifically ask God to show you
what He wants from you today and in the future. Spend time in silence
and give God permission to direct your life in ways that He wants.
If you don’t know what God wants, ask Him, and in silence patiently
wait for God’s answer. He will answer.
The contrasts we see in today’s Gospel help us question our intentions
in order to be more like Jesus whose “I want” is always connected to a
greater good that serves others. Let us not work, pray, and think only
about what we want but what God wants.
We discover great blessings not when we get what we want but when we
get what is good for us and what God wants for us.
Next time we say “I want” let us also ask ourselves “why I want.”
This will pull us out of selfishness to help us discover more and more
what God wants and how He wants us to use our gifts to serve other.
Father François Beyrouti
Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church
451 West Madison Avenue
Placentia, CA 92870-4537
Office: (714) 985-1710
My cell: (714) 914-1710
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