Daily Reflection – 2/26/18
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me.”(Mark 9:30-37)
An incredible irony lies at the basis of Jesus’ teaching: only the one who becomes least by serving the least of all can be first. This lays out for us a very practical, concrete way to live the paschal mystery. By dying to self and serving the least among us, we rise to new and great life. Dying to self isn’t about writing a check to a charity or bring canned food gifts to Church.
It means surrendering our very selves for others – all others, not just those of our own picking and choosing. Every society has cultural, economic, and social classes of people whom it considers “the least.” These are the very people whom the gospel calls us to serve.
As we let go of anything that gets in the way of reaching out to others, we find our own wants and needs change. Gradually our priorities shift from things and possessions, to giving more to the relationships that are the most important and satisfying for us. Gradually we learn that the ultimate good in life is the grateful smile, the relieved suffering, the lifting up of the supposed least among us. Gradually we learn that dying to self brings new life.
After all these years in ministry, I still scratch my head in amazement. I still see so many who aspire to lay leadership in the Church but really want it for their own needs and self-aggrandizement. I still see so many in lay ministry who care not for the common good but for their own good – psychological or material.
Then I see those on the lesser road traveled. They go about doing His work quietly and continuously. They seek no recognition. If they do speak, it’s to ask where is the need? How can I help?
There is a peace in being a servant. The peace comes from a quiet, still voice that says: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Today, you helped carry my cross.”
Would that we all would hear that voice.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, help me to die to myself. Let my life become a prayer. Allow your love to rise in my life so that all I do honors you.
Jesus’ love and saving love can help us bring out the best in ourselves. His cross is our peace – within ourselves and within nations. This is the reconciliation Jesus promises from the cross…peace within us and peace among us.
The apostles got into a row who is the best, the greatest. They want to follow Jesus but something else takes over. So Jesus said little but went to the children, and we see a peaceful scene. He is contrasting the two ways of life – competitiveness and dependency; just when you are getting into the competitiveness, look at the best in children.
Can we bring into ourselves the best of the child and find God?