Photo illustration by Phil Younk
Click on the photo for a printable PDF!

Jesus’ way of love is doing for others

Based on Wis 2:12, 17-20; Jas 3:16–4:3; Mk 9:30-37

Who’s first? Who’s the greatest? In our world, the powerful, successful or rich are usually treated as VIPs (very important persons).

This Sunday’s readings echo that Jesus says such things are not important to God. What’s important is what is in our hearts and how much we think of others before ourselves.

Jesus tells the disciples he will leave them soon. The disciples argue about which of them is the greatest and should be in charge when he is gone. Jesus doesn’t just tell them they are wrong; he tells them that true, fulfilling and lasting greatness is reached by loving and serving others.

To teach his disciples to be last and at the service of all, Jesus puts his arms around a little child and says, “If, as my disciples, you accept a little child like this, you are accepting me – and the one who sent me.”

A child depends on grownups for love, attention and care. To be his followers, Jesus says we have to serve all others who need our love, attention and care – the hungry, homeless, sick, poor, lonely, oppressed, and the most helpless, vulnerable and powerless.

Even though you are not a grownup, you can help others. You can help Mom and Dad take care of your younger brothers or sisters. You can help Grandma and Grandpa with chores. You can take care of your pet without being told to do so. You can send a get-well card to a sick family member or classmate. You can play catch with your friend, even though you’d rather be using your electronic devices or riding your bike. You can invite a classmate you ordinarily don’t play with to join your game at recess.

To forget ourselves and to help others is what Jesus taught by word and example. It’s the exact opposite of what the world and culture constantly tell us through commercials and otherwise – that “me” is first.

To be thoughtful of others, to be generous and kind to others, to serve others and to put others first is not always easy. But that is Jesus’ way of love. We are called to follow him. Jesus tells us that to be good we must do good – for others.