In the Gospel of Mark, On three separate occasions
Jesus tells his closest followers, his closest friends, that he will have to suffer and die and each time they either don’t understand or fail to grasp what he is saying.
The first time Jesus spoke of his passion to the disciples Peter tries to convince him that he is wrong and Jesus says to him. “Get behind me Satan”
The second time Jesus reveals that he has to suffer and die, his disciples don’t seem to pay attention and start arguing about who is the greatest in the God’s Kingdom.
Just before today’s Gospel passage Jesus tried one more time to prepare his disciples for the passion..
No one consoles him or offers their support.
Instead James and John ask for places of honor one on his right and one on his left in the kingdom of God.
Their comment was so embarrassing to the early church that in the Gospel of Matthew the evangelist has the Mother of James and John make the inappropriate request.
The other disciples were indignant when they heard James and John not because they had asked for the places of honor but rather because they had beat them to the punch.
Before we are too harsh on the disciples and before we are to harsh on anyone it is important for us to look at ourselves and our own lives.
How self focused are we?
How much effort do we spend trying to get ahead .
How much of our time is spent at home and at work looking to amass more and more property and more and more influence and more power?
How often have we failed to notice the needs of others
or when we did see someone in need just not want to get involved.
How often have we failed to be of service to those around us
If we added up all the hours of a typical day how many of them would be focused on us getting ahead and how many of them would be directed toward concern for others.
Are we teaching our children to look out for the needs of others or are we teaching them that their needs and their wants must always come first.
A world where everyone thinks of themselves as first is a very sad world indeed.
All of these are very important questions because like the Jesus, we were given our life, to serve and not to be served.
Sadly in our world success is measured by how many people report to you or answer when you call.
In the God’s Kingdom success is measured by how many people you serve.
This same teaching is echoed in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah.
In this passage written 700 years before the birth of Christ seems to foretells how the Messiah will save a very broken and sinful world.
It will not be by force,
it will not be with an avenging army,
it will not be by coercion,
rather it will be by suffering love.
a love which is willing to sacrifice
a love which is willing to pay the price of our sins
a love which gives itself away freely.
Think about it
Do we really want a world where selfishness is a virtue or the main virtue which guides our lives ?
Do we really want a world where everyone looks out only for themselves and their own interests first and the rest get the leftovers
Today’s Gospel makes it very clear that’s not what God wants for us.
and that’s not how Jesus lived.
For as Jesus said the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life in ransom for our sins.