Monday, 12 January 2015

5th Sunday of Lent Year B

What does it mean to be great? What does it mean to be important? Some think that being great and important means having a title or a high position in society; some think it means having lots of wealth and property; some think it means having lots of influential friends and acquaintances; some think it means being popular or famous like movie stars or pop stars. But what about those people who are not in the limelight; those people who care for the sick, the unloved, the forgotten, the bedridden, the rejects of society; those people suffering crosses without grumbling; those people giving encouragement to others; those people who bring the love of God to others; those people who witness to Jesus in small ways? Are they great and important too? As Christians, what does it really mean to be great and important? Are we great and important only in the eyes of the world?

If we look at the life of Jesus, we can get some ideas of what it really means to be great as a Christian. In today’s Gospel Jesus says His hour has come, His hour of glory. Unlike what the world may think as glory, Jesus' glory is quite different: It is his passion and death! Why so? Because if a grain falls on the ground and dies it yields a rich harvest. The hour of glory for Jesus is his passion and death because when he is lifted up from the earth he will draw all men to himself. Jesus’ glory is not what the world thinks as glorious because the world does not see as God sees. Who would have thought that Jesus would have to suffer? Yet as the second reading reminds us, "He learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation." This is greatness, not quite what the world sees as greatness, but greatness in God's eyes. It is for each and every one of us Christians to follow, as the Gospel reminds us: "Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life. If a man serves me, he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him."

The question is: are we still looking for greatness in this world, greatness which is only temporary, an illusion? Or have we begun looking for greatness which is eternal? Sometimes we give glory to what seems strong and powerful, but God does not look at appearances, God looks at the heart. Do we give glory to what appears great or do we give glory to what truly is great? Let us not be complacent into thinking of what seems great but in reality is not so, but humbly, earnestly and consistently strive to discover the real meaning of greatness, and glorify God.

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