It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving. (Mother Teresa)
Gospel text (Mk 10:32-45): The disciples were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead. The Twelve were anxious and those who followed were afraid. Once more Jesus took the Twelve aside to tell them what was to happen to him, «You see we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be given over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the foreigners who will make fun of him, spit on him, scourge him and finally kill him; but three days later He will rise».
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, «Master, we want you to grant us what we are going to ask of you». And He said, «What do you want me to do for you?». They answered, «Grant us to sit one at your right and one at your left when you come in your glory». But Jesus said to them, «You don't know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized in the way I am baptized?». They answered, «We can». And Jesus told them, «The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptized in the way I am baptized. But to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to grant. It has been prepared for others».
On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John; Jesus then called them to him and said, «As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations act as tyrants and their great ones oppress them. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all. Think of the Son of Man, who has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many».
Most of the time when we think of service in our culture, we are really thinking of SERVE US! We are surrounded by people who serve us almost invisibly. Waiters and Waitresses, Postal workers, Garbage collectors, the server at Starbucks. Let’s face it, we are usually the person being served. Think about it for a minute. Today you will be served by any number of people in our community. How many will YOU serve?
What did God create you to be? When I was a kid, I used to watch mission impossible all the time. It was one of my very favorite shows. I used to love all the gadgets, but I also used to love the very first part of the show, because that was when Mr. Phelps would get his assignment on a small tape that would self destruct after the assignment was described. The tape always started the same way. “Mr. Phelps, your mission, should you choose to accept it….” And then the assignment was described. I love that part because it seemed to imply that there was a choice here. The assignment was in some way optional.
In many ways, our Christian life is very similar. God is holding out our assignment and he has clearly defined it in scripture. Yet the choice is ours. Do we join the adventure or simply watch from the sidelines? And what exactly is the mission? What are we called to do? What is our assignment? We’ve got to realize that we were created for service! We were given inherent tools to be used to serve the Lord and each other. This my friends is the very reason why we were created. This is where you will find joy and peace.
The Beatitudes speak the same way. Therein lies the pattern. The greatest of the saints are the humble. It is often the quiet ones, the prayerful ones who do the most for the kingdom. It is the gentle and lowly who are the greatest. Why? Is it some great act that they perform? No. It is because they trust in the Lord and take their problems and the problems of the church to the humblest and greatest, Jesus Christ.