October 18, 2015 - 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
We tend to spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others. We have national rankings for almost everything. We rank our cities. We rank our colleges and universities. We rank our hospitals. We rank our sports teams. Sometimes we even rank our churches.
On a personal level, we compare ourselves to others all the time. We want to know how we stack up.
Who is the best? Which team is number one? Who is the richest? Who gets paid the most? Who is the most popular? Who is the most beautiful?
Everything is a competition. And we typically respond in one of two ways.
The First Way: I want to be the best. I want to be number one. I want to be on the winning team.
The Second Way: I am nothing. I know that I am a nobody. I know that I am at the bottom of the heap so why should I care about anything.
The Apostles James and John wanted to be the best. They wanted to be ranked first among the Apostles. And they wanted Jesus to be on the winning team.
They were ready for Jesus to be the King of Jerusalem. They were ready to lead the charge to drive out the Romans. They wanted power and authority.
Jesus makes it clear that life is not a competition. It’s not about winning and losing. Living this way is not graceful and it’s not peaceful. It places us in a combative mode all the time.
Jesus warns that it should not be so among us. Whoever wishes to be great among you will be the servant. Whoever wishes to be first will be the slave.
Taking upon ourselves this attitude of service takes us out of the competition. I cannot both serve you and compete against you. If I am truly serving someone then I am not, at the same time, trying to be better than the one I am serving.
Serving others is about loving. Serving others is about caring. Serving others is about stepping outside ourselves for the good of another.
Serving others means choosing a cause and caring for some in our civic community. There are those in our community who respond to the Lord’s call to serve by working with Wounded Warriors, Food for the Poor, Habitat for Humanity, Saint Joseph Diner.
Serving others also means doing our part to take care of this local church community of Saint Martin de Tours. It means volunteering time to help.
We have wonderful servants among us who lector, those who serve as Eucharistic ministers, our sacristans, ushers, our volunteers at the June 2 celebration and all those who are helping us prepare for the Cardinal’s visit on November 11, the Feast of our patron Saint Martin de Tours.
These local servants have no need to get caught up in the competitive game of who’s the best, who gets to sit next to Jesus, who’s the winner, because they are serving along side of the Lord in their daily lives.
Serving others is about relationships not rankings. We spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others. When we do there are winners and losers.
Jesus says it shall not be so among us. Jesus calls us, not be be winners or losers, but to be servants who go about doing good and loving others.
Jesus calls us into a relationship, not a contest. In this relationship, the only winners are those who love and serve others. How will we respond to this invitation? How will be love and whom will we serve?