Sept. 20, Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Psalm 54:3-6, 8
2) James 3:16-4:3
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
I run a summer service camp for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, called Camp Fort Worth (CFW). It is a simple concept: Young people serve the poor, participate in the sacraments, small group sharing and praise and worship, and by the end of the week, lives are changed forever.
One of the outcomes of this change is that many of these young people want to come back the next year. We call them the A-team (Alumni team). Their role is like that of camp counselors.
A-team members are awesome, faith-filled young people. But sometimes they get a bit full of themselves, not unlike the apostles in this week’s Gospel who wanted to know who among them is the greatest.
From time to time, we all can fall into this trap. A little bit of power or a little insecurity and the next thing we know, we are “holier than thou” and feel like it is us against the world.
To combat this at CFW, we use this quote from Pope Francis: “Authentic power is service.” We also continuously remind the A-team to focus on the campers. Our mantra is “camp is for campers,” so they remember this camp is not about their own experience. We also have the A-team bus tables at each meal so that service is always at the forefront of their camp experience.
Employing a similar practice could be helpful for each of us. When we feel the temptation to place ourselves above others, we could seek opportunities to serve. This could be as simple as saying to a co-worker, “I’m getting a cup of coffee, can I get you one?” or maybe as involved as organizing a trip to serve some segment of your community.
It seems we often desire to place ourselves above others out of a perceived shortcoming within us, but the words of the psalmist this week offer us comfort: “The Lord upholds my life. Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.”
Remembering this truth will make it easier to follow the call of Jesus to be the servant of all. For no matter how great we think we are, we will never be as great as Jesus, who served us all the way to the cross.
What are things you do in service of others? How can you have more of a servant’s heart and put it into action?