29TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - B
Mark 10: 35-45
What we want to become in the future gives us the innate urge towards a purpose-driven life! Our dream to become the person we want to be gives us the power and determination to achieve something that will sustain us through life. Achieving that goal defines our career and status in the community we live in.
Our ultimate end is the highest goal that defines our being. Our religion facilitates and directs us towards this ultimate end. For us Christians, our ultimate end is heaven no wonder why the brothers James and John wanted to ask Jesus for the assurance of their place in heaven. Jesus explained that the ticket to heaven is not a matter of “religious connections” but depends on personal effort and the grace of God.
The apostles were no different from the other Jews who thought that authority is the way to greatness. Jesus had to correct that wrong notion by showing it the way he lived: he came not to be served but to serve and offered his life as a ransom for humanity. The way to greatness in the eyes of God is through service to others.
This constricted and selfish way of understanding greatness is what defines worldly authority. We have seen some world leaders like Hitler, Idi Amin, Marcos, Polpot (to name a few) who lord it over their countries through dictatorship by having their authority felt through whimsical caprices and abuses. Leadership without charity is tyranny. Christian leadership hinges on servanthood. Authority is given to us in the context of service. Our church leaders have authority over us only because they are our servants: “It is not ourselves we preach but Christ Jesus our Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4-5). One of the titles of the pope is "servus servorum Dei" (servant of the servants of God).
Christian service is the giving of self to others because of one’s love to God and humanity. We don’t have to think big to do something explosive in changing the world for the better. One little act of goodness can change the world! This belief in the basic goodness of mankind explodes beyond proportion if each person shares his kindness towards others. Then it goes beyond religion, race or color which transforms the world when love is expressed in charity through service to others. Because goodness is inherent in each one of us we have the power to change the world for the better than we first found it.
Achieving our ultimate end is not a matter of amassing coupons like tickets that give us more points to enter heaven but celebrating goodness which makes heaven already present now.