HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR I.
THEME: If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.
BY: Fr. Diotacious Chikontwe SMA.
*READINGS OF THE DAY*
Today is very particular day considering that we are going to begin the season of Lent tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. Today is Shrove Tuesday. Also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras (in French). It’s the big hurrah before Christians start Lent, a season of prayer, penance and fasting in preparation for the Easter season. Traditionally during the Lenten Season, Christians would give up rich, tasty foods such as butter, eggs, sugar, meat chicken, and fat (some Christians continue to do so, in fact). Shrove Tuesday was the last chance to eat them.
*FROM OUR FIRST READING*
In our first reading today, we heard the words of encouragement which the prophet Ben Sirach spoke to the people of God regarding the matter of following the Lord and obeying His Law and commandments.
He reminds all of us the faithful that our calling is to keep our faith and trust in God even in our darkest and most difficult moments in life, we ought to remain focused on God and His path despite the many temptations and pressures.
*FROM OUR GOSPEL READING*
In this morning’s gospel reading we find a competitive spirit among the disciples. They argue over which of them is the greatest. They were thinking of greatness as the world at the time considered greatness – prestige, honour, position, power, influence. Jesus, however, gives them a teaching on what is considered ‘greatness’ in the kingdom of God. There, greatness consists in service, even when that means becoming the last of all. It consists of service above all to the weakest and most vulnerable members of society, such as children. That is why Jesus placed a child among the disciples and defined service in terms of welcoming children, those without status or influence, declaring that in welcoming children they were welcoming him.
Being servant means becoming a child at heart. Being a servant means serving all those whom we meet or live with. As Christians, we are expected to serve and not to be served. For serving is one of the best ways of witnessing our love for each other and for God. By so doing Jesus, Himself, is our model. It is because He came not to be served, but to serve (Mt 20:28). St. Paul states that Jesus emptied Himself and took the form of a servant (Phil.2:7). If we want to be filled with God’s life and power, then we need to empty ourselves of everything which stands in the way: pride, self-seeking glory, vanity, etc. God wants empty vessels so He can fill them with His own glory, power and love (2Cor. 4:7).
Are we ready to humble ourselves and to serve as Jesus does?
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