Who is the Greatest?…
Whoever wishes to be first must be last:
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” -Mark 9:33-35, NAB
If you have been following along as we study Mark, we see, yet again, the mistakes of the disciples and Apostles. Like little children, it seems that they just cannot help themselves. The constant mistakes of the Apostles make you begin to wonder how Christianity survived at all.
The disciples were arguing amongst each other about who was the greatest. Jesus pulled the Apostles to the side and set them in their place. He told them, if they wanted to be the greatest, they needed to be the last. Jesus humbled Himself; they must do the same.
Are you a good Catholic? Do you strive to be well-known and loved in your parish community? While there is nothing wrong with trying to be a good, faithful Catholic, we cannot let pride overcome us. It’s not a competition. We should not compare ourselves to other Catholics and look down on them. They may have weaknesses, but so do we.
The moment we begin focusing on how great of a Catholic we are is the same moment that we begin to go off course. To get back on course, we need to follow Jesus’ teaching in this verse. Being a good Catholic means humbling ourselves. Our goal should be to focus on how we can serve and help others, not the status we may obtain from it.
Stop waiting for someone to hand you a trophy that says “#1 Catholic” on it – it’s not going to happen. Don’t expect the priests in your parish and your fellow parishioners to pat you on the back for being such a good person. It’s not about that. Christ came to serve us. He lowered Himself to our level, and we should be willing to humble ourselves, as well.
Serve for the sake of serving. Give for the sake of giving. The greatest things you will do as a Catholic will come when no one is watching. Do you want to be counted among the first in the Kingdom of heaven? Then, your goal should be counted among the last on the planet of Earth. The applause of Heaven awaits.