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Doctrines & Morals

True greatness comes from humble service of others

Wis. 2:12.17-20, Jam. 3:16-4:3, Mk 9:30-37. On this Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B, the Church invites us to welcome Christ in the poor and lowly. Today's first reading sounds like one of the Psalms that are applied to the story of the passion of Christ or like one of the Servant songs in Isaiah. When the "Just One" challenged "the wicked" to fulfill the prescriptions of law dealing with caring for the poor and lowly, literally “those bent over” or “those crushed”, they were repulsed and angered by His ideas and by His attitude. Thus, they plotted against the "Just One" who asserted that God would give rewards in the next life to those who cared for the poor and lowly. The situation of the righteous man who is insulted, tortured, or executed is one that is not confined to special religious texts; it is a situation that arises at all times. The ungodly detests this and they lie in wait against the just (Wis. 2:12. 17-20). “The wicked” plot the persecution and death of the "Just One" because His lifestyle is a challenge to their present-focused, self-serving way of life. Jesus is the revelation of God’s wisdom. The principles of the world are opposed to this eternal wisdom of God.

In today's Gospel, Jesus prophesied for the second time about His persecution and death at the hands of the unjust. He shows that true greatness comes not from honour and being served, but from humble service of others, especially the lowliest and the simplest. By this, Jesus implies that the road to greatness is the road of lowliness and service. According to the psychoanalysts, there are two energies in every man that drive his personality: "the eternal boy” and “old man”. In this theory, something in us wishes to remain a child always in spite of our age. There is in everyone an "eternal child" which is characterised by dispositions and easy going life, humility and down-to-earth, simplicity and all of the qualities we may find in a little child. The "old man" in everyone is characterised by force, motivation, power, bravery, success and things found in adult. Today's second reading draws this distinction between the child-like personality and adult personality. James pinpoints the crises of the adult personality as ungodly passion and avarice as opposed to gentleness and sincerity of a child. Behind the ideas of becoming great, are nothing but selfish ambitions which James says breeds conflicts, desperation, lack of self-contentment, blackmail and even war amongst us. We will never be happy if our happiness depends on getting solely what we want. We must change the focus and get a new centre. Let us will what God wills and our joy shall know no bound.

May the Lord grant us true spirit of service and be inspired by the Holy Spirit to become truly great through humble and selfless service! Amen!! Good morning and happy Sunday!!!

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