25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

“[The Apostles] remained silent.  They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.”

They remained silent because they knew in their hearts that the Lord would not be pleased to hear: “We were just discussing which one of us is the greatest.”  They were embarrassed about their envious competition.  It is one thing to have a healthy sense of competition, there is nothing wrong with competition if it is in the right spirit; the problem is unhealthy competition, which leads to envy, jealousy or pride.

God, Who Is Love, created each and every one of us, and He made us in His own image and likeness. We were all created by Love and we were created for love.  We were made to love God above all things and we were made to love one another.  The two greatest commandments given by Jesus are meant to remind us to live our lives in the way that God created us to live them: in true charity, with authentic love.

The Eternal Word of God took flesh of the Virgin Mary; He became a man like us in all things except sin, so that He could show us how to live.  He left the glory that He had from all eternity in order to be born in a manger.  He came down from Heaven to show us the way to Heaven and He taught us how to live by the way that He lived, by what He said and did.  He taught us how to love by laying down His life on the Cross.

Jesus Christ is the example of how we are to live.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus says: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be last of all and the servant of all.”  He didn’t just speak these words; He lived them out.  He washed the feet of the disciples: a job reserved for slaves.  Then He told His disciples to love one another as He had loved them.

The Lord gives us a very different model of greatness than the world does.  The world tells me to put myself first.  The world tells me that I am more important than everyone else.  The world tells me: “Forget everyone else; if it makes you happy, do it!”

Our Lord gives us a different standard.  We are all creatures of God.  Through our Baptism, we became sons and daughters of God.  In Holy Communion, we are all united with the True and Living God in a most intimate and unique manner; that doesn’t make us better than everyone else.  God loves each and every one of us.  We are all destined to be forever happy with God in Heaven.  We should desire that everyone be in Heaven with us at the end of time and we should pray for others who we know are far from the Lord.

The Lord calls us to have charity towards others: we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.  We are called to treat others, as we would like to be treated.  Why?  We are all part of the same human family.  As Christians we are all members of the Body of Christ.  In Holy Communion each one of us is intimately united to Our Lord.  If I am united to the Lord and the person sitting next to me is united to the same Lord, how can I hold a grudge against that person?  We are all members of the same Body: the Mystical Body of Christ.

We are all called to love others; and not just in some generic, theoretical way.  Jesus gets very specific, He tells us: whatever you have done to the least of my brothers and whatever you have not done to the least of my brothers you have done to me.  In this parish, there are many efforts made to reach out to those who are less fortunate than we are; there are many opportunities for us to reach out to those in need.  The most important thing that we can do for others is to share our spiritual goods: to offer our prayers for them.  Reaching out to others in need is one way that we can answer the call of the Gospel today to be servants in imitation of Jesus, Who came to serve not to be served.

Lord Jesus, may we have a true concern for those in need; inspire our hearts, Lord, with true charity for others.  Amen.


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