25th Sunday of the Year
Wisdom 2:12, 17–20; James 3:16–4:3; Mark 9:30–37

The Monk’s Vision
“Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all.”

Lawrence LeShan tells this story in his book How to Meditate.

An old monk prayed many years for a vision from God to strengthen his faith, but it never came.
He had almost given up hope when, one day, a vision appeared. The old monk was overjoyed.

but then, right in the middle of the vision, the monastery bell rang. The ringing of the bell meant it was time to feed the poor who gathered daily at the monastery gate

It was the old monk’s turn to feed them. If he failed to show up with food, the unfortunate people would leave quietly, thinking the monastery had nothing to give to them that day.

The old monk was torn between his earthy duty and his heavenly vision. but, before the bell stopped ringing,
the monk made his decision. With a heavy heart,
he turned his back on the vision and went off to feed the poor.

Nearly an hour later, the old monk returned to his room.
When he opened the door, he could hardly believe his eyes.
There in the room was the vision, waiting for him.

As the monk dropped to his knees in thanksgiving, the vision said to him, “My son, had you not gone off to feed the poor,
I would not have stayed.”

That story bears a striking resemblance to today’s gospel.

Like the disciples, the monk gave up everything to follow Jesus. Like the disciples, he turned his back on the material wealth of this world for the spiritual wealth of the next world.

And like the disciples, after he had done all these things,
he learned the most important spiritual lesson of his life.

He learned that the best way to serve God is not necessarily to give up everything. The best way to serve God is not necessarily to turn our back on the world and go off to some monastery. The best way to serve God is not necessarily to spend hours in prayer, contemplating heavenly visions.

The best way to serve God is to do something far more basic.
The best way to serve God is to reach out in service to our brothers and sisters, especially those less gifted than ourselves.

Jesus taught his disciples this lesson, saying,
“Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all
and be the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

This raises an all important question. How can we translate Jesus’ teaching into action in our own lives?

Even as we ask that question we realize that there’s no single answer to it. There are as many answers as there are people. And so, no one can answer the question for us. We must do it ourselves.

Nevertheless, it might help us to look at how one young man answer that question in a courageous and responsible way.

Ted Kennedy, Jr., first made national news when he lost a leg to cancer at the age of 12.

 Periodically after that, the press carried a photograph of him
skiing with one leg or playing football with an artificial limb.
Now, however, you read about him in another capacity.

Young Kennedy has been crisscrossing the country
addressing handicapped people, especially the young.

He attributes his positive attitude toward his own handicap
to his family and friends. They never “made me feel different,” he says. On top of that, he frankly admits that he had the best doctors and the best treatments available.


“One of the reasons why I’m trying to help other handicapped people,” he says, “is that I want to repay some of that debt.
It takes so little from me to make others feel better that it would be unthinkable not to make the effort.”

That last sentence deserves repeating.

“It takes so little from me to make others feel better that it would be unthinkable not to make the effort.”

Few of us have the leisure of Ted Kennedy, Jr. Few of us have the time or the financial security to do the kind of work
he is doing. Yet I can’t help wondering about something.

Even if you and I did have the leisure and the financial security that Ted Kennedy, Jr., has, how many of us would be using those gifts as generously as he’s using them?

That brings us back to our original question. How can we, personally, respond to Jesus’ words in today’s gospel?

“Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all
and be the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

As we said, no one can answer that question for us.
We must answer it for ourselves.

And so today’s gospel contains an invitation and a challenge.

First, it contains an invitation. It invites us to take inventory of our lives and ask ourselves, What is our own spirit of service in the work we are doing, right now—whether we are a mother raising small children or someone involved in office or factory work?

Second, it contains a challenge. It challenges us to take a few minutes off in the week ahead and ask ourselves sincerely, How can we bring to our work a greater spirit of service than we now have?
Let’s conclude by listening prayerfully to the words of Albert Schweitzer. One of the great Christians of modern times, he turned his back on the concert halls of Europe to become a missionary doctor to the poor in Africa.

Schweitzer said:

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing
I know: the only ones among you who will really be happy
are those who sought and found how to serve.”

Let’s repeat those words once more.

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing
I know: the only ones among you who will really be happy
are those who sought and found how to serve.”

Series II
25th Sunday of the Year
Wisdom 2:12, 17–20; James 3:16–4:3; Mark 9:30–37

Glowing Faces
Helping others, especially the needy, brings joy not only to the helped but also to the helpers.

Ahigh school teacher gave his students this homework assignment: “Describe in writing a time in your life when you were a ‘good Samaritan’ to someone.’’ One of the students
responded to that assignment this way:

“In the summer before I entered high school, our church planned a day for the elderly and the handicapped at a local hospital. The sea of wheelchairs and patients overwhelmed me. At first I saw only wheelchairs.

“Then I happened to notice someone in one of the wheelchairs
staring at my legs.

“That did it. Now I stopped seeing only wheelchairs and started seeing people also. I saw crippled women, paralyzed veterans, forgotten old men, frail little kids. All were looking for someone to show an interest in them. I couldn’t breathe;
 I hurried away by myself.

“I paced the hospital grounds for what seemed to be an hour.
I became angry at God and totally confused at seeing so much pain in one place.
I was more lonely than any of the patients.
I was the one that needed help, not them.

“But after a while, the God I had vented my anger on suddenly became more real than ever before in my life.
I sensed that God loved these people in a special way.

“It was a strange experience: a sudden decrease in faith
and a sudden increase of faith—all within a matter of minutes.

“I returned to the place where all the elderly and the handicapped were. And I began doing everything I could to make them happy: getting them soft drinks and merely talking to them. I made a lot of faces glow that afternoon.

“But of all the faces that I made glow, one face stood out above all the others.
I will never forget that face. It was my own face.
I never felt so good about myself;
I never felt so happy.’’ (adapted)

That story fits in beautifully with today’s gospel reading.
Specifically, it fits in with what Jesus said to his disciples
after they had argued among themselves about who was the greatest.

Jesus said,
“Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

And so Jesus used the occasion to underscore a prominent gospel theme: helping others, especially the needy. Let’s take a closer look at this theme.

Let’s look at it from two viewpoints.
First, let’s look at it from the viewpoint of the needy.
Second, let’s look at it from the viewpoint of those who help the needy.

In his book Majority of One, Sydney Harris, the syndicated columnist, describes a time when he fractured a bone in his foot. It forced him to hobble around with a cane for several days. Commenting on the experience, he says:

“What was pleasant about this otherwise painful experience was the way I was treated by everyone. People opened doors for me, helped me into cabs, gave me room on elevators.
My spirit blossomed under this kind of public treatment.’’

Harris’s remarks illustrate what service does from the viewpoint of the needy.
It makes their “faces glow.’’
It makes them feel somebody cares about them.
It makes them feel somebody loves them.

This brings us to our second viewpoint: what service does for those who help the needy. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in the remarks of the high school boy,
when he said:

“I made a lot of faces glow that afternoon. But of all the faces that I made glow, one face stood out above all the others.
I will never forget that face. It was my own face.
I never felt so good about myself;
I never felt so happy.’’

That boy’s remarks illustrate what service does for those who help the needy. It makes their face glow even more than the faces of those they help.

And I think the reason for this is simple.
It stems from something we forget.
It stems from something we lose sight of.
It stems from something we need to be reminded of again and again. Let me illustrate with a story.

There’s a 19th-century painting that shows a long line of poor people in a rundown part of the city, waiting to be fed in a soup kitchen.

It’s a striking painting. But the most striking thing about the painting is one of the poor people in the long line. He has a halo around his head. A closer look at that person shows that it is Jesus.

And this brings us to the reason that the faces of those who help the needy glow even more than the faces of the needy.
It’s because in the process of helping the needy, they discover
where Jesus is in our modern world. He is in the needy themselves.

This is what we forget.
This is what we lose sight of.
This is what we need to be reminded of again and again.
For it was none other than Jesus himself who said:

“I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink;
I was a stranger and you received me in your homes,
naked and you clothed me;
I was sick and you took care of me,
 in prison and you visited me. . . .
whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!” Matthew 25:35–36, 40

Let’s conclude by listening prayerfully to the words of Albert Schweitzer, one of the great Christians of modern time.

At the age of 30, he gave up his career as a concert performer
for the rich people of Europe and became a missionary doctor for the poor people of Africa. Toward the end of his life Schweitzer said:

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing
I know: the only ones of you who will be really happy are those who sought and found how to serve.’’

Let’s repeat those words once more. They are that important.

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing
I know: the only ones of you who will be really happy are those who sought and found how to serve.’’

Series III
25th Sunday of the Year
Wisdom 2:12, 17–20; James 3:16–4:3; Mark 9:30–37

Community service
Once a dream and a vision, it is now a dire necessity.

Whoever wants to be first must be the servant of all.” Mark 9:37

Author Martin Simon composed a fanciful story that contains a great truth. It goes something like this:

A great king was growing old. He realized it was time to designate one of his three sons, who were triplets,
to succeed him.
The big question was, Which of the three should it be?
So he decided on this solution. He would send all three to a distant land that had great schools of learning.

Just before they left, he called them together and said that the one who returned with the most useful invention would succeed him as king.

And so the three sons set off and buried themselves in study.
The results were amazing.

The first son invented a magic telescope that could focus in on anything on earth.
The second invented a magic carpet that could fly anywhere on earth in a minute.
The third invented a magic medicine that could cure any disease on earth.

As the time to return home approached, the three sons
gathered for a birthday party, at which they showed each other their inventions.

The first pointed his magic telescope to their homeland to see how their father was preparing for their joyful return.

The sons were shocked at what they saw. Their father was in a coma, surrounded by doctors who were trying to cure him of a rare disease, but without success.

The son who invented the magic carpet told his two brothers to sit down with him on the magic carpet. Then they flew home to their father.

The third son then took his magic medicine and cured their father, saving his life.

When the father learned
what had happened, he could not decide
which son should succeed him.

For it took all three to save his life. If any one son had failed to help, the inventions of the other two would have been useless.

And so the king and his three sons discovered a great truth.
Saint John of the Cross expressed it in Christian terms this way:

As every one of the saints received the gifts of God in a different way, so every one of them sings God’s praises in a different way,
and yet all harmonize in one concert of love.

And that brings us to today’s Gospel. Like the king in our story, Jesus realized that his days on earth were numbered. He would soon die. And like the king in our story, one of Jesus’ major concerns was a successor to continue the work that he began.

Unlike the king in the story, however, Jesus’ plan for a successor was a team of 12 disciples. And so one of Jesus’ tasks was to teach them to work together as a true Christian community.

We can imagine his consternation when he saw them walking along one day, arguing about who was the most important member of the team.
That was far from the spirit Jesus wanted to establish among them. For as James points out in today’s second reading, “Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also . . .
disorder and every kind of evil.” James 3:16

And that was what Jesus was seeing among them: jealousy, selfishness, disorders, and every kind of evil. And so Jesus did what all leaders must do at one time or another. Mark says:

Jesus sat down, called the twelve disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all
and be the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

And that brings us to all of us in this church today. Modern society has become so complex that one person can no longer function autonomously in a given field.

The byword among business operations today is teamwork,
and the byword in international affairs is brotherhood.
Louis Mann summed up the situation in today’s world this way:

Teamwork and brotherhood, once a dream and a vision,
has now become a dire necessity.

In his acceptance of the Nobel Prize, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took it a step further, saying that our situation in today’s world is so complex and fragile that “we must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Some years ago, Philip Yancey wrote an article in Campus Life magazine. In it he used a striking image from nature to illustrate the kind of teamwork and brotherhood we are talking about.

He began by noting that twice a year geese migrate
“as a flock.” Those three words, “as a flock,” reveal the secret of their ability to fly long distances. Yancey writes:

Cooperating as a flock, geese can fly
a 70-percent longer range. . . .

The lead goose cuts a swath through the air resistance,
which creates a helping uplift for the two birds behind him.

In turn,
their beating makes it easier on the birds behind them. . . .
Each bird takes his turn as the leader.

The tired ones fan out to the edges of the V for a breather,
and the rested ones surge forward to the point of the V to drive the flock onward.

If a goose becomes sick and needs to rest,
another goose will stay with it until it can continue again.

It is this kind of teamwork that Jesus talks about in today’s Gospel.

It is this kind of teamwork that the Christian community must strive for if it is to be what Jesus made it to be: the salt of the earth and a light to the world.

And the place where it must all begin is in the soul of each individual Christian.

Recall our opening story. If any one of the three brothers had failed to use his talents properly and diligently, their father would have died.

So it is with the Christian community. If we are to become a light to the world, each one of us must do our part. An old Chinese proverb puts it well:

If there is right in the soul, there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the home.

If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.

ค้นหา

Bible Diary 2019

IMG resize 2019

บทอ่านและบทมิสซา

ordomissae

พระวาจาประจำวัน

word of God 2

ข้อคิดจากพระวาจา

word of God 1

หมวดปรีชาญาณ

wisdom books

บทเพลงศักดิ์สิทธิ์

angels-5b

พันธสัญญาใหม่

spd 20110902115342 b

เอกสารฉลอง 350 ปี

350

เว็บไซต์คาทอลิก

  • bkk

  • haab

  • becthailand

  • santikham

  • pope report-francis

  • bannerpope

  • cc_link2011

  • 0002

  • thaicatholicbible

  • mass

  • bnbec

  • facebook

สถิติเยี่ยมชม (เริ่ม 22-02-2012)

วันนี้
เมื่อวาน
สัปดาห์นี้
เดือนนี้
เดือนที่แล้ว
ทั้งหมด
7176
9544
50626
246945
416637
12325934
Your IP: 3.80.223.123
2019-05-24 20:32

สถานะการเยี่ยมชม

มี 136 ผู้มาเยือน และ ไม่มีสมาชิกออนไลน์ ออนไลน์

แผนกคริสตศาสนธรรม อัครสังฆมณฑลกรุงเทพฯ 122/8 อาคารแม่พระรับเกียรติยกขึ้นสวรรค์ ซ.นนทรี 14 ถ.นนทรี แขวงช่องนนทรี เขตยานนาวา กรุงเทพฯ 10120

โทร 02-681-3850 มือถือ 095-953-3070 โทรสาร 02-681-3851