25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 20, 2015 – Year B
Readings: Wis 2:12, 17-20 / Psalm 54/ Jas 3:16-4:3 / Mk 9:30-37
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Last Thursday after we celebrated the funeral Mass for our brother in Christ, Tom Gilsinan, one of his friends described him as a great man. Those of who knew Tom would surely agree. He was great not because he had extraordinary achievements in life that should be recorded in history books or featured in national media, but because he was a man who was always willing to serve. He was the type who always showed up to be of assistance whenever help was needed.
Pope St. Gregory, who earned the title ‘the Great’ after his name, was the first pope to call himself “the servant of the servants of God”. All popes after him, including Pope Francis, have used the same title. They don’t just call themselves servants, but servants of the servants, for this is indeed the mark of true greatness.
In today’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus, knowing his disciples were discussing who among them was the greatest, told them, “if anyone wishes to be first he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” You will notice that he didn’t tell his followers that they should not aspire to greatness, that is not God’s will for you. Instead he told them that the desire to be great is not the problem. The world’s definition of greatness is the problem. Jesus makes it clear in the Gospel that the way to greatness is through humble service.
This Sunday, as we begin another faith formation year, we also begin the “Living our Mission” campaign which has already begun in most of the other parishes in the Diocese of Richmond. This campaign will give us the opportunity to participate in the larger mission of the church. It will also help to remind us who we are and whose we are. Our goal is to fulfill our mission as God’s children. Our Father and Creator has given us the gift of life and endowed us with all our talents and abilities so that we can make the world we live in a much better place.
At the end of life, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta tells us we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have, how much money we’ve made, or how many great things we’ve done. We will be judged by how we responded to “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.”