Our Lord’s Teaching on True Greatness – 5th Sunday of Lent, St Mary of Egypt, Mark 10: 32-45

Today’s gospel reading describes Jesus’ ascent to Jerusalem before His Passion. Jesus takes the twelve apostles aside and starts to tell them that he will be betrayed, condemned and put to death, and that He will rise again from the dead.

At the threshold of Holy Week could we be ‘taken aside’ by the Saviour for a talk in which he explains to us, personally, the mystery of Redemption? Do we ask the Master to help us understand at greater depth what is taking place for our sake on Golgotha? Do we make it possible for Jesus to meet us in secret? Do we seize opportunities to be alone and quiet with the Lord?

Jesus walks ahead – prophesies of His crucifixion – disciples are fearful.

Then the sons of Zebedee come to Jesus and ask him to let them sit with him in his glory, one on his right and the other on his left – preoccupied with seeking favours for glory and honour. Jesus told them they didn’t know what they were asking. This verse can apply to each one of us today too.

We expect and ask Jesus for human glory, wealth, ease, pleasures, power over others. We actually expect from the world as it is today to offer us truth, happiness, security, comfort, peace.

Jesus tells us with Him it is the complete opposite –

  • to be a servant, not No.1. He didn’t come on a throne, to be bowed to but to give us His love, His comfort, His forgiveness.
  • to take a basin; towel, and wash our brothers’ feet, in other words do menial tasks for them, as a servant.

The Master explains to the disciples that true glory lies in serving others.
“For the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

What is true greatness? True Christian dignity (greatness) is not based on highest places at celebrations, on best dressed, best car, best house – on pride, arrogance; but upon the humble, loving service a Christian gives to others. Christ is completely indifferent to the number of high society, popular, famous people we know; talked to, dined with; invited to meet; got autographs from.

We are numbered amongst first when we visit the ‘not famous’ who lie in hospital alone; when we soften someone’s hurt with our words, our company, our prayers; contribute to feed the poor.

Supremacy in God’s eyes is not people waiting on us, serving us, but us waiting on people; serving them in love of Jesus. He came as He said – ‘Not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” We must realise who we are – God’s children – and why we are here for – here to be used by Him as His instruments in the never-ending work. God works through us. God uses people – to feed, teach, comfort, heal, clothe, visit His children.

God does not always give us something great to do for Him – but always something that needs to be done.

May be little to us but is great to God if done with love and for his glory.

“God is seeking to carry out His mission on earth in us, through us, He needs each one of us.” St. Cyprian

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