We continue reading from the Gospel of Mark where Jesus catches the disciples in an argument over who is the greatest. As if being a disciple is a matter of greatness or being number one. He faced them in the house and said, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Are we that kind of servant, that we are willing to serve others first, whether in our families, where we work or where we serve? One of our innate human weaknesses is envy, measuring our lives in terms of what others have or do in comparison to us. It is a very slippery slope that leads to jealousy, even wishing harm to those we wish would fall or fail. Jesus has a whole different approach, a stewardship approach, realizing we are entrusted with many gifts. The expectation is that we develop those gifts through prayer and reflection. Making the situation better for others because we can, not because we have to.
How often do we pray in gratitude, thanking God for all the blessings we have starting with the gift of our lives, then whatever follows, family, friends, faith, church community – whatever the blessings are in our everyday lives? Recognizing those immense blessings how do we, in turn, share those blessings with others, make a difference in other people’s lives by our friendliness, attentiveness, compassion and concern and our selfless service? We see tremendous compassion in the volunteers who on their own are helping the flood victims in North and South Carolina.
Through their participation they are making a difference in the lives of many people who have lost everything, and they are being generous with their time and their resources. How generous are we with our time and our resources to support the ministry and mission of the church, even in light of the recent revelations in the life of the church? Hopefully, we remember the first Commandment, “I am the Lord your God. You shall no other gods before me.” Meaning technology, conveniences, hobbies and activities take a back seat to the presence of the Lord. As someone said, “You can’t out-give God!” Once we open ourselves to receive God’s gifts, they will flow through us to others, who in turn, will do the same.
Soon I will ask you to sign up for one or more of the parish ministries, and I will ask you to increase your Sunday offering, your Sunday contributions so that we can carry on and perform the mission and ministry of the parish.
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel, Pastor