You can find today's readings here!
It is quite difficult, in the United States of America, to not want to be the best. We think our country, our sports teams, and our schools are “Number One!” We are taught from a young age that we can “achieve anything we put our minds to”. We are told daily of small town nobodies who turned into superstars overnight (Thank you, reality TV). It is perfectly understandable to most Americans then, that James and John asked to be put in a place of honor because of their association with Jesus. They were trying to climb up Jesus' political ladder and “be all they could be”.
Unfortunately for James and John, but fortunate for all of humanity, Jesus does not have a political ladder, a social ladder or any kind of ladder to rank people. He doesn't even rank himself. He tells the disciples that to be the best, they must serve the least. They must be the servant to others, and serve the children, poor, castout, downtrodden, widow and sick.
For this we must be extremely grateful. Many would consider themselves lucky, well-off, or taken care of, but external things aren't the most important in this situation, internal things are. Even if our external selves have power, wealth or fame, the shape of our souls is often poor, childlike, foolish, sick, cast out, or downtrodden. We don't have a clue what to do in times when we should. We fumble for faith in hard times and let our faith slip in the easy times. But if we look at our “American Dream” we know we can be number one, even in our faith
Last week, Jesus told us, “nothing is impossible with God.” This is because WE are the ones who need to be served. We are served by Christ, who died on the cross for US. We are the ones who are poor in spirit, we are the ones who are the least. We are so blessed and fortunate to have God who is full of mercy and understands our human weakness. In being the least in God's eyes, we become the best in His eyes. By being last, we become the first. We trust that God cares for us. We trust that Jesus' sacrifice was meant for us. We trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us in our lives. Because we trust, we can echo the prayer of the psalmists, and praise God for His mercy on our lowliness when we sing, “Lord, let Your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in You. “