Sunday, October 18, 2015

Great Service

   Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time   B 
I have no homily text to share with you this week: we had our monthly children's Mass this morning, so the written version never made it past a few notes scribbled on a scrap of paper.  

A few highlights...

It started with the old rhyme/song, "There was an old woman who swallowed a fly..."  Each creature swallowed (fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, goat, cow, horse) is bigger and faster and stronger than the last.  That's often how we measure greatness: by who's bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, prettier, richer, or more popular.  

James and John are right in desiring to be great--and in realizing that greatness requires being close to Jesus and being like Jesus.  But they seem to think (as many of us secretly do, too) that being great will mean being able to tell other people what to do.  That's not Jesus' way.

Jesus teaches James, John, and all his disciples that God measures greatness rather differently than we usually do.  Greatness isn't measured by what you can get other people to do for you, but by what you're willing to do for other people--not by how much we've got, but by how much we're willing to give.  And if we want to be like Jesus, then we have to give like Jesus--and that means we have to be willing to give not even just a lot, but everything.  A big part of being a Christian is about humble, loving service of others.

Serving our neighbor in this way is a matter of mission: it helps other people get to know Jesus by showing them how Jesus loves them.  And we do it, not for the big, fast, and strong ones, but for the little and least ones, because we can see their real greatness: we can see Jesus in them.

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