My Sisters and Brothers!
The world changes, the leaders of the nations and governments change, even the value of the things changes. Can you remember the warnings given in media a few years ago not to leave your GPS visible in your car and even to wipe off any marks on the windscreen that could indicate you had such a device in your vehicle? They were saying how many cars got broken in due to a GPS left inside. I don’t think we could have many thieves bothering to break in to steal a GPS from a vehicle. It is not worth the trouble any more.
In spite of all those changes which make our world different to the world Jesus and his disciples lived in, there are some things which haven’t changes. What do you recon about jealousy and ambition? Some objects which can trigger our jealousy and ambition have changed from the time of Jesus but those two attitudes seem to stick around. Don’t they? St James who wrote in his Letter about jealousy and ambition was in that group of disciples when they argued among themselves which of them was greatest. The “leaven” of competitiveness and prestige, which characterised the society of the Roman Empire, had infiltrated among the small community still in its beginnings! Here we see the contrast! While Jesus is thinking of being the Messiah-Servant, they were thinking about which of them was the greatest. Jesus tries to descend while they try to ascend! Not long ago Jesus warned them against “the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod.” It was precisely that “leaven” of competitiveness and prestige.
The psychologists say that it is an issue in our society that people feel like two cents. It leads not only to depression and suicide but it influences our shopping, our holidaying, our dining etc. We want to make ourselves important. However Jesus shows us a different way. It is about serving. Just think how much struggle this teaching must have presented to the people 2000 years ago, when having servants and slaves was showing one’s importance.
Have you ever thought why Jesus didn’t choose being born to a powerful royal family where he could have all means to change the world for better? Instead he was born and raised as an ordinary person. God, the one whom we call All-powerful and Almighty, chose to live as a servant: “I have come not to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.”
The lifestyle Jesus presents to us through his own way of life is all about being for God and for people. When we make the most of our time, skills, the ability to love and be compassionate to serve others it is the five cents in the eyes of the world but in the eyes of God it is like those two coins which the poor widow put as a donation for the Jerusalem Temple. Those two coins falling on the top of other coins didn’t make any noise to get people’s attention but Jesus didn’t miss it.
Our own acts of kindness and humility may be laughed at as worthless and naïve but they are precious in the eyes of God.
To finish let me introduce you to a saintly person: Blessed Aniela Salava who died 82 years ago at the age of 40. 24 years ago Joh Paul II declared her a Blessed of the Catholic Church. Who was she? A maidservant. Her world was basically limited to a couple of streets, a shop and her parish church but she was a bright light in that gloomy area. Her ambition was to serve God and others. And did she serve. Not only for money but for the sake of Christ who wanted to be a servant of all.