29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Oct. 21, 2012)

Often, it is said, when looking for a job it is not what you know but whom you know that counts most. It’s called networking, or having the right connections.

In Sunday’s Gospel, we see two brothers trying to take advantage of their special connection with Jesus. It seems like a modest request: “Master, we want you to something for us.” It’s something we’ve fallen for many times: “Could you do something for me?”

Jesus is not so easily duped. He counters with another question: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Remember this question, because it’s going to come up again in the Gospel for Sunday the 28th). It’s a question that Jesus asks of us also.

Ideally, our answer will go right to the fundamental core of our life, to what we want out of life. If we just say things like money or winning a lottery, having good health, getting a good job, being successful or whatever, then Jesus would probably ask us a second question: “Why do you want that? Is that all you want?” In life, what do I really want? What could we ask of Jesus that would make Him not come back with that “Why …” question.

Understandably, when the other 10 heard what James and John did, they were not too happy. These two had gone behind their backs and pulled a fast one. So now Jesus brings them all together and tells them His view of greatness and success in life. There is only one way to greatness and it is His way. It does not consist of sitting on thrones, living in fine houses, driving luxury cars, belonging to exclusive clubs, eating in fine restaurants, having holidays in exotic places … the things our glossy Sunday supplements portray every week.

Greatness consists not in what we have, or in what we can get from others, but in what we can give of ourselves to others. Even if it be just a smile, a cheerful word or a helping hand, those things matter greatly … very greatly!!

Be God’s smile for someone today!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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