Sunday, October 17, 2021

The twenty-ninth Sunday in ordinary Time

Today it seems that everyone wants to be “somebody.”


People want to be noticed.


They want to be influential.


They want to stand out from the crowd.


That desire to be considered “somebody” drives certain individuals to increase the number of their friends on Facebook, the number of their followers on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram, and the number of people who subscribe to their YouTube Channel.


Other people seek to be considered “somebody” by displaying their political influence, their position in business, their financial wealth, or their celebrity status.


Some individuals advertise that they are “somebody” by the credentials on their office walls, by the letters after their names, by their press clippings, or by the number of times they are mentioned in social media posts. Others try to stand out from the crowd by their outrageous and dangerous behavior or even by the number of tattoos that cover their bodies.


Everyone it seems wants to be “somebody.”


In this Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 10:35-45), we meet two disciples of Jesus who wanted to be “somebody.” James and John approach Jesus and ask that when he comes to power in his kingdom, he puts them in positions of honor and prestige. “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”


In response, Jesus tells them what they are asking would require them to drink the cup of suffering that awaited him. Moreover, he says that “to sit at my right and at my left, is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (Matthew 20:23)


When the other disciples hear what James and John ask of Jesus they become “indignant.” Perhaps their annoyance is prompted not only by the naked ambition of James and John, but also by the fact they did not get their request in first. They all wanted to be “somebody.”


Because of the desire of his disciples to be in positions of power and importance, Jesus tells them that those who are “somebody” in God’s estimation are those who put themselves at the service others. “Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the servant of all.”


Today it seems that everybody wants to be “somebody.” But not everyone realizes that the greatest “somebody” who walked this earth, became so, not by doing what the world requires of its “somebodies,” but rather by giving “his life as a ransom for many.”


Those who want to be “somebody” need to learn from his example. Be like Jesus, be of service to others. Then you will be “somebody.”


© 2021 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski