Without humility of heart all the other virtues by which one runs toward God seem -- and are -- absolutely worthless. – Blessed Angela of Foligno
(Gospel Text: Mk 10:32-45)
The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem,
and Jesus went ahead of them.
They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them
what was going to happen to him.
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man
will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death
and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him,
spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death,
but after three days he will rise."
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came to Jesus and said to him,
"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?"
They answered him,
"Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."
Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
They said to him, "We can."
Jesus said to them, "The chalice that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared."
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many."
One of the toughest lessons that we learn throughout life is that failures sting. We are taught from today’s society that our value is determined by our accomplishments, our wealth and our contributions to our community. Movie stars, CEOs, and wealthy businessmen are glorified, and their massive egos are fueled by those who worship and idolize them. But in Mark, Jesus talks about one important message: humility.
It is difficult to find humility, and even more rare to demonstrate it from within. We are prideful and want to take glory in what we do because, let’s face it, we all want credit for our accomplishments. Yet as the disciples argued over who should ultimately sit at Christ’s left or right side, Jesus reminds his disciples that glory is not measured in how great we are, but how little we are. He best brings his point across when he says that those who are great, i.e. the leaders and the “show-offs”, are actually the least in society, and that those who live for others are the ones who bring glory to God.
Today, challenge yourself and demonstrate humility to those around you, even if they are your employees, students, and enemies. When we humble ourselves, we allow God’s love to permeate through us onto others who need him. It is then that we understand how God’s glory comes not from the strong, but the meek and humble.