Reflection: Our deepest desires and greatest call
The gospel for this Sunday is about something with which we are quite familiar. It is about our desires. What do we do with our lives? What can we do with the gifts we bear?
We hear these days about elections and the money it takes to have a seat in the legislature. And we find competition among those who would want an important position. And even in smaller positions, there are some who make themselves known that they would be better if they were in charge rather than the people making decisions right now.
But I know that those who hold important offices, even if they are skilled in leadership, inherit many more problems to solve. Being a leader is no picnic.
It was not too different in Jesus’ day. We find the disciples who walked with Jesus arguing about who is the greatest!
Jesus was telling his disciples that he would suffer greatly. Jesus was about preaching and teaching, and he had quite a following. He was quite aware that there were those who wanted him out of the picture. He states, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again” (Mark 9:31).
The disciples did not have any understanding that Jesus’ success, his preaching that drew many crowds, would cause him to die. They only saw Jesus through his preaching, teaching, healing the sick, living among the people, listening, and sharing the stories. Jesus embraced the suffering of the blind, lonely, and lost. He loved the most vulnerable with all his heart.
Jesus sits down and speaks to his disciples directly. He clarifies what it means to be a leader. He tells them to choose to be last instead of first! He tells them that instead of enjoying glory, they should be servants.
Jesus places a child in their midst and puts his arms around the child and says, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Mark 9:37). Our children need our assistance from birth until they eventually become independent as adults.
In this gospel, Jesus teaches us that our desire to be part of success is to serve those who are most vulnerable, the weakest among us, those who need our help, whether it is the people of Afghanistan, Haiti, Louisiana, or our own backyard where we know people are hurting because of job loss, illness, painful family issues, and other sufferings that may be hidden to us.
Today, we are called to reflect on what we really desire in life. Is it fame? Importance? Or living our imagined dreams? We are called to serve those who need our gifts.
This day, what might we choose to serve our neighbors who may need the gifts we have to share?