From the Pastor's Desk
Today’s readings invite us to become great in the sight of God by doing God’s will, as Jesus did, surrendering our lives in the service of others.
The passage from the Book of Wisdom sounds like a messianic prophecy similar to the “Suffering Servant” prophecy in Isaiah referring to Christ’s passion. It urges us to choose the path of righteousness in spite of painful consequences.
In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 54), the psalmist prays for help against the insolent people who rise against the upright.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a glimpse of what walking that path is, namely, welcoming and serving the vulnerable in our midst: the defenseless children, the despairing poor, the mentally ill and the marginalized. Jesus also teaches his apostles that child-like humility and selfless service make one great in the eyes of God.
The second reading is in tune with the dispute among the apostles about who is the greatest. In it, James warns us that selfish ambitions destroy peace and cause conflicts and war. So, James advises us to choose the path of righteousness and humble service which leads to lasting peace
Life messages: # 1: We must become great through humble, self-giving service. Greatness, in Jesus’ view, is found in our willingness to accept and welcome and serve those who are considered unacceptable by reason of class, color, 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. 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.
2) We need to practice humility in thoughts, words and actions. “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. (L/18)