Have you ever had a time in your life in which you became a little full of yourself? Some would call this ego, or self-absorption when it becomes extreme, but if we are honest with ourselves, don’t we all go through phases like this in our life? Examples might be… ‘No one could ever do what I do.’ ‘If they only knew what I bring to the table.’ ‘If they would just do what I say there wouldn’t be problems.’ ‘No one knows what I’m going through.’ … and the list goes on.
When we focus on our own greatness, or our own desires we actually limit the potential we have in the world. We become self-fulfilling, which means that only what we do makes us happy, our way is always right, and this can quickly turn into an us versus them mentality. (Look at our world today, sound familiar?) The disciples in this weekend’s Gospel are full of themselves and make discipleship all about them. Can we sit at your right and at your left, when you come into your kingdom?
All of us, at times, fall into this trap. We focus and work so hard solely for ourselves that we forget the intention of our lives as disciples. Jesus reminded James and John that it isn’t about just you and your individual self. Jesus tells James and John that until you serve the other, you have no idea what it means to really be a disciple. In essence, the greatness James and John are seeking in the Kingdom, can only be achieved by serving and including others.
As a parish we too need to remember that we are only great when we serve others. Our parish offers many opportunities for serving those in need through ministries like St. Vincent de Paul, our pro-life ministry, our ministers to the sick and homebound as well as the collections taken up for those in need. We serve in many ways and as a parish, we always have to look at how we can serve in our wider community.
What defines the greatness of St. Mary’s is our service to one another and our wider community. Our parish family however is still missing some members. Over the past several years we have lost people for one reason or another. I am asking that we make an intentional effort to invite someone back to St. Mary’s. Offer to drive, take them for a beer or coffee after, serve those who have wandered away for whatever reason. Jesus always welcomes people back, and we need to as well. In a special way, we need to make sure that our hospitality is genuine when we gather for Sunday Eucharist, welcome those you may not know, say hi, introduce yourself. Over the next month we need to make an intentional effort to invite and serve. Please bring/encourage one person who hasn’t been to St. Mary’s to come. We can’t be a great parish without them!