September 19

Mark 9:33-37

“But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.” vs. 34

The disciples didn’t quite get Jesus and were afraid to ask him questions, but they knew exactly how to play religious games, especially when it came to power and control. For them following Jesus wasn’t so much about helping people as it was a road to greatness and prestige–by elevating themselves through their deeds, they could show how important they were. It’s an age-old game, played not only by Christians but by every other religious group in town. Walking in the Way while immersed in the Divine Mystery enables us to experience life in its fullest, but it has nothing to do with lording it over others or imagining that we are better than anyone else. Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” He could not have said it more plainly! And we still don’t get it! We bristle at the notion that the world’s standards of greatness don’t fly in the peaceable kingdom, and keep on trying to distinguish ourselves from others in every imaginable way. It would be laughable if it weren’t such a pathetic distortion of Christlike living. Thank God for all who have stopped playing games and who humbly dedicate their lives to modesty and service! As Jesus said of the poor in spirit, “Theirs is the kingdom of God.”

Thought for the Day: Who are the truly great among us?

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