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25th Sunday of the Year – B 

25th Sunday of the Year – B

 

Dear friends in Christ,

 

When Nelson Mandela was a law school student in Johannesburg he had a friend named Paul Mahabane, a liberal member of the African National Committee. One day, they were outside a post office when a white local judge came. The judge told Mahabane to go inside to get him stamps. Back then, black people being told to do things for white people was considered normal. However, Paul refused to do it. The furious judge shouted, “Don’t you know who I am?” The man replied, “I don’t need to know who you are, but I do know what you are.”

Today’s readings paint the image of the just as seen by God. Quite often, people believe in their importance and worth only because of what they do rather than who they are. This kind of judging leads to misunderstanding, injustice, division and hatred. St. James writes in the Second reading: “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.”

In the Gospel, Jesus and the disciples journeyed through Galilee to Capernaum. Once inside the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” We are told that they remained silent, because they had been discussing among themselves who was the greatest in the Kingdom. They missed the point.

Jesus did not teach against ambition. There is nothing wrong about ambition.    Rather he showed the disciples how to be truly ambitious, meaning, to serve and not to look for power and glory. Such is Jesus’ description of an important person: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Service is at the heart of Jesus’ Good News and his call to discipleship: “I have come not to be served, but to serve.”

Today’s lesson is simple and clear: Serve one another as Jesus serves us.

 

Fr. Joe