29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 18, 2015 – Year B
Readings: Is 53:10-11 / Psalm 33 / Heb 4:14-16 / Mk 10:35-45
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Not too long ago, I had an enlightening experience while at a car rental office in New York. It was a busy morning there, and all the rental associates were attending to customers when I arrived. After several minutes of waiting, a man, whom I saw earlier parking one of the rental cars outside the building, came into the lobby. Noticing how busy the place was, he asked if I had been taken care of. When I told him that I was just waiting for my turn, he said that he would help me. I felt comfortable with him because listening to the way he spoke – he was pretty much like me. English definitely was not his first language.
I also noticed that he was not as well dressed as those behind the counter. His outfit was much like those who cleaned cars outside. But I was grateful that he was willing to help me. He even offered me a cup a coffee and apologized that I had to wait for quite a while. It didn’t take long for me to notice that he was not too familiar with the computers or doing the paperwork. Noticing his difficulty, when he went to the office inside to get something, I asked the associate nearby why he was not helping him – when it was pretty obvious that he didn’t seem to know what he was doing. In a very soft voice, the associate told me, “He may not know what he is doing, but he owns this franchise”.
Here was a man who surely could have sat in his office and let his associates do their jobs, but he was willing to make a fool of himself so he could be of service to me. I am not surprised at all why he is the owner of the business.
In today’s gospel Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to be first among you will be your servant.” As many of us know, the Pope has many titles. He is called The Bishop of Rome, The Primate of Italy, and The Patriarch of the West, just to name a few. But the Holy Father’s favorite title, which is most in keeping with his role as the Vicar of Christ, is “Servant of the Servants of God.” And this particular title, which was coined by Saint Gregory the Great, is not just for the Pope but for all of us who became God’s children when we received the sacrament of baptism.
The Lord said to James, John and the rest of his disciples that service is the way to greatness. In fact, this is our mission and ministry. Wherever we are, whatever may be our occupation or profession in life, each and every one of us always has the opportunity to be of service to others. But as we all know, even with all our good intentions, being a servant is not as easy as it sounds. No matter how hard we try to give the best service, there will always be people who will find a reason to complain. But this will never stop us from doing our best. We should have in mind that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ himself was maligned, insulted and crucified for being a servant.
In the second reading today which is taken from the letter to the Hebrews, the apostle Paul’s words to the early Christians and also for all of Christ followers in the twenty-first century, tell us that what we should do in times of difficulties. He said, “We do not have a high Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who has similarly been tested in every way – yet without sin. So let us approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and divine grace.”