The two readings and gospel of today are very relevant to our contemporary time that is berated by individualism, selfishness and competition based on positions, appearance, possessions and the likes. Sometimes we get depressed when we do not get our way or what we want. A famous author, T.S Elliot said: “most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important”. This unhealthy desire causes division in the family, in Church, business places, offices, socio-political institutions and the world at large. Jesus in the Gospel reading noticed that the Apostles had their affection fixed on the material glory of earthly kingdom and where debating with one another who was the greatest. Immediately, he sat them down and fed them with the truth in living a great life. He said “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.
That is, for them to achieve greatness they have to avoid ungodly actions as stated in the first reading, desist from selfish ambition of who was the greatest and become selfless servant. We are divinely blessed with great human and natural resources to be used for the glory of God and betterment of mankind, but jealousy and selfish ambition are twin-vices that exist in our society and breeds disorder, dispute, tensions and wickedness of every kind. St James in today’s second reading asked rhetorically, what causes wars and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war.
My dear friends in Christ, our self-dissatisfaction with our polluted wishes and incessant crave of possessing someone’s or communal resources terminates our inner peace, negatively twist our perception of life and makes it difficult for the world to be a healthy place of love, peace and progress. There is no doubt a so many has refused to behold God the upholder of our life and reject the true love of God and humanity. It is evident in the fast rising decadence in morality, the increasing insecurity of lives cum properties and the violence in our different societies. Indeed, this is a clear picture of Robert Burns poem in 1784 that stated “Man’s inhumanity to man”.
Dear Friends in Christ, the proof of greatness in life is not in the number of cars we drive, not in the series of degrees we acquire in educational ambience, not in the position of power and authority which the world gives, not in the accumulation of wealth and not in the multitude of persons who serve you. But true greatness as stated by Jesus to his Disciples is to be the servant of all and able to imbibe child-like qualities of humility, obedience and total dependence. That is, the fruit of greatness is in the service we offer to God and our neighbours. Pope Francis once said, “the world tells us to seek success, power and money, but God tells us to seek humility, service and love.
When we work according to these virtues we shall obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ which truly defines greatness. Beloved people of God, our world needs selfless men and women like Mother Theresa, who though poor, but put her needs aside so she could care and serve the poor, the sick, the aged, the homeless and the rejected. Little wonder due to her selfless humanitarian service she was awarded “The Jewel of India”, the highest honour bestowed on Indian civilians. Another selfless figure is St Maximillian Kolbe who volunteered his life to die in place of a married man named Franciszek Gajowniczek with young children. when we Imitate Jesus Christ and these heroic figures of faith in accepting the truth of selfless service, we can fully let go of weird competition and our tendency to want to be great by all means.