Twenty-Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time
Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Have a stack of my new business cards and give them out to people.
I have my new business card, and I am so glad that I have them because they tell me who I am. The card reads, “Fr. Mark Peacock, Pastor, of Holy Spirit Parish.” Because I am the pastor, I know that a whole lot of power and possible greatness can come from being a pastor, but I do not want to assume anything at this point. My idea of being a good pastor is knowing you and loving you and trusting that you will do great things in Christ. In return, I would hope that you would learn to love me and to trust me. This kind of leadership takes time, but I am thoroughly committed to it. Our readings today are about knowing who we are in Christ and to use the power that all of us have to the greater glory of God.
In our Gospel, Jesus is walking with his disciples, and he has been telling them that he must suffer, die and rise from the dead. As he is sharing with them, he can hear them arguing and talking about which one of them is the greatest. When they stop he asks them, “What have you been arguing about?” Notice, none of them speak up, and not even Peter. Jesus sits down; this is significant because he is switching to be a teacher, rabbis would teach while they were sitting down. He tells them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and the servant of all.”
Let’s face it, this saying is hard for us even today, because this is not what one would do to get ahead, you do not go to the back of the line; you will be left behind. We need to look at the one who is saying it. Jesus was no pushover he was not milquetoast. Jesus spoke up to the authorities, he spoke about injustice, and he emptied the temple. The attitude of a good leader is one who knows who they are in Christ. The way to discipleship is not about seeking personal greatness, but about seeking to be a servant in the name of Jesus Christ. The way of discipleship is not seeking power over others, but accepting servanthood and giving up power for the sake of others. It is about finding our strength in Jesus Christ. To drive home the point, he brings a small child to himself he says, “Whoever receives one like a child, will become the greatest.”
We are still going to have challenges as from the Book of Wisdom, the writer tells us very clearly, there will be people who look at us when we live this way and call us foolish, but we must go on.
In our second reading from James, the writer tells us “Where jealousy and self-ambition exist there is disorder.” The writer continues by encouraging us to seek the wisdom of God and never give up.
May we learn the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ that has been given to us in this Holy Eucharist and that is to be a good leader by being a good servant to others?