Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"THE SON OF MAN CAME TO SERVE."


Homily for May 25th, 2016: Mark 10:32-45.

ATeacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you,@ the brothers James and John say to Jesus. When he asks what that is, they respond: AGrant that in your glory we may sit one at your right hand and the other on your left.@ Despite their presumption, Jesus does not rebuke them. Instead he asks:  ACan you drink of the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?@ AWe can,@ the brothers reply lightheartedly. 

The cup Jesus refers to will contain, this time, not water but blood. Patiently Jesus explains that this whole contest for power and honor is totally unacceptable among his followers. AWhoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.@ Jesus reinforces this teaching with his own example: AFor the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.@ The first citizens of God=s kingdom are those who, like Jesus himself, seek not to be served, but to serve.

The quest for recognition and honor continues in the Church today. It has given rise to the saying in Rome: “If it rained miters, not one would touch the ground.” Recognition and honor are not bad in themselves. We all need them to some degree, to prevent becoming discouraged. They become evil only when the quest for them takes over and becomes central in our lives. Then we inevitably experience disappointment and frustration – because we find that we can never get enough. To find the joy that the Lord wants for us, we must live in the spirit of the evangelical hymn that goes like this:                          

                       Take my life and let it be / Consecrated, Lord, to thee.

         Take my moments and my days / Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my hands and let them move / at the impulse of thy love.

Take my feet and let them be / Swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice and let me sing / Always, only for my King.

Take my lips and let them be / Filled with messages from thee. 

Take my silver and my gold / Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect and use / Every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine, / It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is thine own, / It shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour / At thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be / Ever, only, all for thee.