Theme: I’m the Greatest; No, I Am!
Walking the Via Dolorosa (revisited)
By: Deacon Bill Frere
Homily for Wednesday February 23 2022
Gospel – Mark 9:38-40
Given the Gospel for the day, this one is worth repeating!
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat. “I’m the greatest hitter in the world,” he announced. Then, he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed.
“Strike One!” he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed. “Strike Two!” he cried out.
The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. “Strike Three!”
“Wow!” he exclaimed. “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”
We all want to the best at something; we all want to be recognized, appreciated for our accomplishments. We all need that pat on the back. But today the disciples have gone too far. They are actually arguing with each other, complaining about whether non-disciples can cure in Jesus’ name. You get this picture of the disciples thinking they are all better than anyone who is not a disciple.
And Jesus’ response? He could have raised His voice; I guess He could have sent them to their room for acting like children (if they had a room). But no, He speaks gently but directly to them. If you want to be the best, you must be the least. There is no place in the Kingdom for rivalry or competition. This is not a contest to see who is the greatest! Whoever is not against us is for us!
We are all human. We all compare ourselves to others and hope we are better at something. We all want to feel unique and special. And we all stumble and fall in our pride and selfishness. Just like the disciples!
Deacon Bill Frere