Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

(Sirach 36:1.4-5a.10-17; Mark 10:32-45)

Israel is the ninety-seventh largest country in the world with a population of over eight million people.  Switzerland is a slightly larger country, and Tajikistan a slightly smaller one.  Of the three, which capital is best known?  Probably only Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, is known.  Switzerland does not have a declared capital and Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe, is more obscure than the country.  Why has Jerusalem become as renown as Sirach’s prayer in the first reading today requests?

Surely, it is not because the world stands in dread of Israel as it did in a sense during David’s and Solomon’s reigns.  No, the prayer has been answered in Jesus Christ who established a reign of virtue not of arms.  Although atrocities have been committed by Christians through the centuries, those events were deviations from Jesus’ way, not in conformity to it.

We should take care that our response to God’s favor be one of gratitude and noblesse oblige rather than pride and intolerance.  As today’s gospel makes clear, Jesus came to serve and we follow him by doing likewise.