Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

We are all too concerned with getting the respect we think we are due in society, be that society in general, or the society of our home, workplace or school[1]. We are more concerned with what others are saying or even thinking about us then we are concerned with who we are. Parents have a right to respect from their children, honoring your father and mother is the Fourth Commandment, but parents earn that respect by caring for their children not by making unreasonable demands for no reason other than their own self-gratification.  People in authority over us at work, or in society, have a right to our respect, but only to the degree that they are exercising their authority in a just manner. We may have to put up with a boss who is unjust and endure him until he is replaced or we find another job, but we respect the boss who treats everyone fairly. Those who are still going to school often give far too much deference to popular classmates or to the members of an athletic team, or even to the top students.

Who are the best people in the school?  For that matter, who are the best people at work? Who are the best people in your family? Who are the best people in our society?  The best people are those who are kind, compassionate, just, full of mercy and all those good things that James wrote about in today’s second reading.

Maybe we need to think about some of those grudges we still hold on to so tightly.  “Who did she think she is, talking to me like that?” So many of our grudges come from our conviction that we were not treated with the respect we felt we had a right to, be that from a boss, a neighbor, a distant relative or even a member of our immediate family.

We are very wrong when we behave in that manner. The way of the Christian is not the way of being concerned with what he thinks he has coming to him. We are Christians. The basic attitude of our relationship with others must be that of Jesus Christ.  His way was the way of service.  Christianity is not a popularity contest. It is a contest of service. The Christian is not concerned with getting his props. He is concerned with giving God His props.

At the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer the priest and deacon hold up the Blessed Sacrament and proclaim: “Through Him and with Him and in Him, O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever.” All answer, “Amen.” That is both an affirmation of the miracle of the Eucharist and a proclamation that the only glory and honor we need to be concerned with is that which we give to God.  That is the way of Jesus Christ.  That is the way of the Christian.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta wrote or at least edited a prayer for her sisters, and really for us, to help us understand what really we need to be concerned with in life:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. 
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. 
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. 
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. 
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. 
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. 
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. 
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. 
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
 It was never between you and them anyway [2]

[1] 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B), September 20, 2015. Readings: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20; Responsorial Psalm 54:3-4, 5, 6, 8; James 3:16-4:3; Mark 9:30-37
[2] The verses reportedly were written on the wall of Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta, India, and are widely attributed to her. Some sources say that the words below were written on the wall in Mother Teresa's own room.  In any case, their association with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity has made them popular worldwide, expressing as they do, the spirit in which they lived their lives. They seem to be based on a composition originally by Kent Keith, but much of the second half has been re-written in a more spiritual way.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris