Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Up, Up and Away…

“Jesus summoned them and said to them, ‘You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant, whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Mark 10: 42-45

We all desire to be great, don’t we? There is this constant, internal drive that compels us forward, that causes us to reach higher, that draws us to excellence. There is something burning in our hearts that does not want to settle for second best, for mediocrity. We want to win the gold and come in first place. We want to be rich and famous. We want to be successful and we want to be known. And we want power—the power to control our own lives, our destinies and perhaps even at times the lives of others.

We aspire to greatness and we try to emulate those who are successful in our eyes. We seek to compete in sports as do the greatest of the MVP’s and hall-of-famers. We try to sing and dance and play instruments like the rock-n-roll gods of past and present. We try to dress and act like the pop culture tells us so that we can be as cool and accepted as the famous among us. We believe that we can acquire wealth from imitating those who have acquired it before us.

But what happens after we acquire the wealth? What happens after we make the hall of fame, or reach #1 on the charts, or have our names on the clothes others wear so they can be as cool as us? What then? Will we look back with satisfaction at the journey? Will we be ready to settle down and just lazily enjoy the comforts success and fame has brought us? Or might there still be a nagging in our hearts do something more still?

The grand irony in life was taught to us by Jesus in His words and through His very life: if we want to be raised high, we need to lower ourselves. If we want to be the greatest, we must be the least. If we want to be first, we must be last. If we want to live, we must die. Bl. John Paul II echoed these words of Christ when he reminded us that the more we live selfishly for ourselves, the less human we become and the more we live lives of self-donation, the more fully human we become.

Jesus showed us His greatness by becoming lower than the angels to take on our form. He showed His greatness by obeying Mary and Joseph and learning at their feet. He showed His greatness by washing the disciples’ feet and giving us His Body and Blood on Holy Thursday night. And Jesus showed His greatness by lowering Himself completely in His passion and death so that we too, could share in the life of the Trinity. Somehow we think we can be great without doing the same?

Dear Jesus, help me to lower myself to where You are at, so that You can raise me up. I want to serve You and others Lord. I aspire to nothing but loving You and giving my life as a donation for others. Amen.

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