Scripture Readings: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20; James 3:26-4:3; Mark 9:30-37
In 1996 while on sabbatical in Rome, Italy, I remember one day when a group of priests were engaged in discussion while having some adult beverages before dinner one night.
One priest shared during the discussion that our group must be the best group of priests that has ever gone thru this sabbatical program. Fortunately, this thought did not get much play. But, I did think to myself at the time, it does seem a bit self-centered, at the very least to think our group was the best group of the 60 or so sabbatical groups to have gathered over the years.
Even the Disciples, as we heard in today’s gospel, argued over who was the greatest!
Jesus, of course, has some other thoughts, says Jesus:
+ To receive God, open your arms to others. Embrace the helpless and needy. Seek out the smallest.
In the letter to St. James today, he reminds us that, “we need to get over ourselves.”
Said Sergeant Shiver, founder of the Peace Corps, many years ago, at Yale University, “break your mirrors. Shatter the glass,” he said. “In our society that is so self-absorbed,” he explained, “begin to look less at yourself and more at each other. Learn more about the face of your neighbor and less about your own.”
He also offered a blunt assessment, saying, “when you get to be 30, 40, 50, or even 70 years old, you will get more happiness and contentment out of counting your friends than counting your dollars.” And he ended by sharing, “you will get more from being a peacemaker than a warrior. I have been both,” said Sergeant Shriver, “so I speak from experience… Break the mirrors.”
Says Jesus to his Disciples of yesterday and today – the greatest is the one who serves the needs of others. And as we hear in another Gospel from St. Matthew, “whatever you did for one of these least brothers and sisters, you did for me.”
What is the Lord asking of each of us, as person, family and Parish, in the call to be of service to others?
Last week, in the newsletter that was sent to all parishioners, we invited parishioners to prayerfully consider being involved in some ministry or activity of the Parish. I hope you have or will consider prayerfully where the Lord is calling YOU to be of service, of ministry to others. Yes, it may mean some sacrifice. Yes, it may mean some training. Yes, it many mean sharing our talents. But, is this not one of the reasons God has blessed each of us? Blessed us so we can be a blessing to others in the name of Jesus, who came to love and to bring hope and life to all people – period.
Imagine a world where power turned to service; where the last were first?
Finally, do take the time to listen to Pope Francis who visits Washington, DC; New York City and Philadelphia this week. I truly believe he will be asking you and me and us, to take the next step in sharing the Gospel of Jesus, that is best accomplished by our faithful living of the Gospel of Jesus Christ today and every day.