Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered this homily Oct. 21.
Just four weeks ago in our Gospel reading from Mark Chapter 9, Jesus spoke about his approaching sacrificial death and then almost immediately catches his disciples arguing about which of them was the most important.
Thoroughly disgusted, Jesus declared, “If anyone wishes to be first, he must make himself the servant of all.”
In today’s Gospel it is clear that James and John didn’t get it, because here barely one chapter later, they ask Jesus for the top positions in his Kingdom, to sit at his right and at his left when he comes into his glory.
Thoroughly disgusted again, Jesus confronts their selfish ambition head on, insisting that following him means not just humble service as previously stated but also sharing in Jesus’ sacrificial death, drinking from the cup (of suffering) from which he must drink and being baptized with the baptism with which he must be baptized.
But even then, they still won’t sit on his right and on his left.
Why? Because self-promotion, will get you nowhere in the Kingdom of God, where greatness is not measured by rank or position. The greatest people in heaven are those who — like Jesus — made themselves the slaves of all and gave their lives as a ransom for many.
Ah, the glory of downward mobility, the heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ!
The lying deceit of this world’s shabby old system based on the false glory of power, possessions and prestige has been unmasked by Jesus’ sacrificial death, which shows us where true glory lies: the glory of the cross, the path of not-very-glorious-looking downward mobility that God himself took by sending Jesus down to us in order to free us from the false glory of this world and thus show us the path to true glory in the Kingdom of God.
What path have you chosen for your life? The pursuit of power, possessions and prestige? Or a life of service and self-sacrifice?
The greatest people in heaven are those who — like Jesus — made themselves the slaves of all and gave their lives as a ransom for many.
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