by Fr Francis Onyango IMC
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Psalm 33:4-5.18-20.22 (R. 22)
THEME: Call to Service
The gospel this Sunday reminds us that; ‘The Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ Following in the footsteps of Christ means following the path of service. Christians should not be like guests at a wedding who wait to be shown where to sit, to be served and pampered and entertained and made to feel comfortable by others; no, Christians are like soldiers in a battle-field getting bruised, sweating and working hard so as to attain victory. We are the Lord’s army; fighting injustices, unfairness, hatred, divisions, laziness, and all the evils in the world. We are like farmers; sowing seeds of love, friendship, peace and consolation. A Christian is always an agent not a client because a client comes to be served while an agent does the serving!
Our mission as Christians therefore is that of service. However, we live in a world where the desire to be great and be served by others seems to be a very central factor in human life. A careful reading of the world history will show that it is all about the struggle for power, influence, position, supremacy and greatness. Even James and John the two disciples of Jesus wanted to be given positions of honour in the Lord’s kingdom. They were lobbying for positions of authority because they still didn’t fully understand the identity and mission of Jesus Christ. Positions in themselves are not bad, what matters is what you do with your position; are you using your position to serve or to frustrate others?
The Lord reminds us today that ‘whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.’ In our world today, people want to get rich without working for it; to rise to great heights without a struggle, to get into the Promised Land without passing through the desert and to wear the crown without carrying the cross. Mahatma Gandhi summarized these dispositions in his seven deadly sins of the modern world as: Wealth without Work; Pleasure without Conscience; Science without Humanity; Knowledge without Character; Politics without Principle; Commerce without Morality and Religion without Sacrifice.
In the first reading we see the pain of the servant of the Lord; he was bruised, he was put to grief and he became an offering for the salvation of all! This is our call as Christians, to offer ourselves at the service of others without minding the sweat, the fatigue, the bruises and the disappointments. Therefore, if you are sitting pretty comfortable for everything to be done for you then you haven’t really understood your mission as a Christian. Our call is to come out of our comfort zones and offer ourselves at the service of the church and of Gods people. May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord! Amen.