Based on the Gospel of Mark 10:35-45

Wanted: a privileged place in Jesus’ kingdom. In this Sunday’s Gospel, James and John want Jesus to promise them that one will sit at Jesus’ right side and the other at his left in his kingdom. This Gospel is like the one we heard a few weeks ago. Remember how the apostles argued among themselves about who was the most important in their group? Now James and John want the most important seats on either side of Jesus when he comes into his glory. Jesus tells them it is only God the Father who knows for whom these places are assigned.

When the other apostles heard what James and John wanted, they were upset and angry. Jesus told the apostles he did not come as a powerful ruler or warrior to be served but as a servant of all people, and gently reminded them, “If you want to be great, you must serve others, too.”

You know some people who serve the needs of others: your parents, grandparents, family members, and others such as teachers, priests, doctors, nurses, police officers and firefighters. This Sunday is World Mission Sunday and the start of World Mission Week. This Sunday we are asked to pray for missionaries, the priests, sisters, and laypeople who bring the faith to poor and isolated areas both in the United States and in other countries. One excellent example of what Jesus is talking about in this week’s Gospel is Mother Teresa. We’ve talked about her several times before.

Mother Teresa started the Missionaries of Charity order of sisters in India. She worked with the “poorest of the poor” people – the homeless, the abandoned, the sick, the uneducated, and the dying. It did not matter that they were dirty and in ragged clothes. She picked them up from the streets, bathed them, gave them food and medicine, gave them shelter, taught them, and helped the dying. She cared for them and showed them love – the way Jesus would. Mother Teresa didn’t look for rewards or recognition. She served the poor because she loved Jesus very much. Mother Teresa died in September 1997, but the sisters of her order continue the good work she started.

Blessed Mother Teresa once said, “Love has to be put into action and that action is service…. It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing – a lifelong sharing of love with others.”