By Father Frank Hernandez
All of us want to be recognized for what we do in our lives. Whether it be at home, work, school; with family and friends. There is nothing wrong with wanting recognition, but one we demand and request that honor, recognition, that is when problems arise for us.
On the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time we hear the gospel of “The Greatest in the Kingdom.” Jesus and His disciples are out on ministry and Jesus recognizes a discussion between them. The apostles were discussing among themselves, on the way, who was the greatest. The apostles were the closest to Jesus and they may have assumed that they would have a special place. They were trying to figure out who it could be and what they would do with that authority. But Jesus reminds that of what it means to be great. “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” A simple lesson, yet difficult to live.
There are many moments of recognition in our lives. As parents, children, among friends, we have our favorites among them and we place some on a place of honor. And there is nothing wrong with that, but how do we respond to that honor or recognition? Do we let it get to our heads or do we not place any attention on it? We act like this within our families and say “I am mom or dad’s favorite child, grandchild, nephew, etc!” Sometimes that way of things can divide the family rather than unite them.
The same can happen in our lives of faith where we assume that we are better than others because we know the bible letter for letter, front to back cover. Or we spend our entire day in prayer at church, only taking a break for lunch or we fast every day and only eat cheese, crackers and water. This makes me greater than everyone or something else. All of these examples are important in our lives because they help us on this journey of faith, but they should not make us greater than others. All of us are the same, some are better at other things, but our goal is the same too, that personal relationship with Jesus and the Lord.
How can we as a community and society get away from that idea that we have to be better than one another? Society of competition is fine, if the goal is to help others advance as well, but when that competition becomes to win and destroy people in the process, that is not what Jesus was speaking of in the gospel. Our greatness as people of faith is being of service to others. If we help one another we will all achieve the same greatness, the glory of God our father. That should be our focus, that almighty honor of being in the presence of God, the greatest part of sharing the Kingdom in heaven.