YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: WHO IS THE GREATEST?
BY: Fr. Clem Mezie Aladi.
GOSPEL: MK 9:30-37
My dearest children of God peace be upon you all who have come into the presence of God to worship him. May you become great in the eyes of the Lord.
I have always heard people say ” I want to be a great man or woman”, but behind their ideas of becoming great, are nothing but selfish ambitions which St James in the second reading of today says breeds conflicts, desperation, lack of self-contentment, blackmail and even war amongst us. *You will never be happy if your happiness depends on getting solely what you want. Change the focus. Get a new centre. Will what God wills, and your joy no man shall take from you.”* Fulton Sheen
Greatness is not being popular. Being great and being popular may sound synonymous but they are completely opposite. One can be great without necessarily being popular. So are you seeking to be popular? What is your own definition of greatness? What are you doing to achieve it? Do you think that your roadmap to greatness aligns with what Jesus is teaching us today? Today is another day to look inwardly and re-draw our roadmap to achieving greatness.
I would say that greatness comes with a persistent and untiring effort to do good even when trials and tribulations forces or compels us to do the opposite. *It is that urge to choose the path of righteousness in spite of painful consequences.*
Greatness is marked by that consistency in service to others even when we do not receive accolades or gratitude in return. It flows from that inner disposition to please God in all things. The first reading from the book of wisdom which echoes the suffering servant song of Isaiah sees suffering as one of those marks that distinguish truly great persons. We must suffer for others to be truly great. Any definition of greatness outside the context of service and sacrifice is devoid of meaning.“ *Nothing great is ever achieved without enduring much.”* St. Catherine of Siena
To remind us who have lofty ideas of greatness and who are busy with many things just to achieve greatness in the modern world and especially at this time the environment is saturated with political campaigns, Jesus calls to our consciousness the true meaning of greatness. Jesus gives us a glimpse of what walking that path is, namely, welcoming and serving the vulnerable in our midst: the defenceless children, the despairing poor, the mentally ill and the marginalized. Jesus also teaches his apostles that child-like humility and selfless service makes one great in the eyes of God. In other words, greatness, in Jesus’ view, is found in our willingness to accept and welcome and serve those who are considered unacceptable by reason of class, colour, religion, wealth or culture. We must welcome people the way a child welcomes them before he is taught discrimination. If we are to be truly great, we must be ready to accept four challenges: (1) to put ourselves last, (2) to be the servant of all, (3) to receive the most insignificant human beings with love, and (4) to expect nothing in return.
Truly great people are those who have cultivated the virtue of humility and render humble service to anyone irrespective of rank or social status.
We need to practice humility in thoughts, words and actions to achieve greatness. “ _Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart._ ” “What is the essential thing in the religion and discipline of Jesus Christ?” St. Augustine asks, and then responds, *“I shall reply: first humility, second humility and third humility.”* We should not seek recognition and recompense for the service we do for Christ and the Church as parents, teachers, pastors, etc. Trusting Faith resulting from true humility is essential for all corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Since children reflect the innocence, purity, simplicity and tenderness of our Lord, and since they are given the protection of a guardian angel, we are to love them, train them and take care not to give scandal to them. We need to try to treat everyone with love and respect because *”Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life”* (St. Basil), CCC # 336
During the holy Mass let us pray for the true spirit of service and for an attitude of love for those around us. May the Holy Spirit help us to become truly great through humble, selfless service.
I keep you and your family always in my Prayers.
Fr. Clem Mezie Aladi.