Homily 25th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B - Called to be selfless

Homily (Sermon) - Called to be selfless

The Readings for Sunday 23rd September 2012  or the twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B:
Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Psalm 53:3-6, 8
James 3:16-4:3
Mark 9:30-37
[These readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few weeks.]

There is a lot of conflict in this world. I don't just mean wars, terrorism or violence although they often seem the worst and most extreme conflicts. I also include the daily conflicts we are part of at work, school, in our families and even in this Church. Small arguments, little disagreements, frustrations that other people don't quite see the world as we see it. Tiny fights we need to win each day to succeed in our work, play and faith.

There is something about being human that drives us to succeed, to want to achieve things. For some people they target greatness, look at our Olympic and paralypic athletes, for others maybe the ambition is smaller, getting the kids to eat breakfast and get to school on time is challenge enough.

Ambition, drive, success and winning are the themes of today. And our teaching from Christ today seems contradictory, "If anyone wants to be first, they must make themselves last of all." The message doesn't fit with the way we see the world work.

We are told that the disciples had been arguing over who was the greatest. I had to smile and see myself reflected in that line. I remember bad team meetings at work that dissolved into boasting of successes and putting down of others. Sometimes I took part, others I sat back and thought to myself, this is stupid why can't they see this gets us nowhere, I am a much better manager because I am not taking part. On reflection I see how wrong I was on both occasions, and the disciples knew they were wrong also, they were ashamed to tell Jesus what they had been arguing over.

Our society tells us that being right, being first, being the best is all important. But society is wrong. There is nothing good or important about being first, however there is only one thing bad about being right, or first or best, and that one thing is doing something just to be right or just to be the best or just to be the first.

So what are we supposed to do?

We are called to be gentle and are called to endure. We are called to bring peace to conflict. As James tells us the seeds of the peace maker will bear fruit in holiness. Jesus tells us to be the servant of all.

It's in our nature to put ourselves first. Christ tells us not to, he tells us to put others first. He shows us a small child as an example. Put them first, serve them and you are serving Him.

There is a huge difference between doing your best and being best. Being the best student, the best driver, the best mum, the best doctor, the best anything you can be is good, it's holy and it will bear fruit. Being better than anyone else is point less and will only lead to conflict.

Use your skills for others, welcome their needs, their vulnerabilities. Help them as you would help a child. Welcome them with open arms, you will be welcoming Christ.

Following our lord is not easy. He never promised it would be. Selflessness is not in our nature, pride and greed are. If you are to be a follower of Christ you needs put your human nature last to enable you to put your spiritual nature first. Work hard, but always for others, strive to do your best, but resist the urge just to be the best, if you are the best thank God that you are able to serve so well.

This week please reflect on the today's teaching. It's a hard one, a call to be selfless. It's one we will all find difficult, and without prayer and a relationship with a loving God we may find impossible. But we have a loving God, one who is selfless, who died for us, who forgives us, and is ready to help us if just ask in prayer for help. Please pray about conflicts in your life, pray for help in bringing peace, pray that you maybe be a seed of the peacemakers and bring all huge harvest of holiness.

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