Thinking of Others
Opening Questions: Have you ever met someone who always liked to be in charge? Why do they like to be in charge? Have you ever met someone who tries to help all the time? How are they different from the person who always likes to be in charge?
First Reading: James 3:14-18; 4:1-3
When you find jealousy and selfishness, you will find a weakness and people doing all kinds of evil. But you will find the wisdom that comes from God is first of all holy. Then, it is full of peace. It wants to find an agreement, not a fight. It wants people to act with mercy and do good things. It is sure. It does not say one thing and do another. When people make peace, they sow the seeds of God's will in their lives.
Where do your fights and your wars come from? Is it really a fight between your mind and heart? Isn't it really a fight between what you should do and what you want to do? You really want something but you do nothing to go get it. You would kill for it and are jealous of others who have it, but you do not have it in your hand. You pick fights and make wars, but its not yours. Why? Because you don't ask for it. And if you ask for it, you don't receive it because you ask only for yourself, not for the good of others.
The person who helps others is different from the selfish people. The helpful person thinks about others as well as him or herself. The helpful person tries to be honest with others, tries to forgive and forget, tries to live in peace with others. This is way God wants us to live.
But, what do selfish people do? They argue and fight because they don't get their way, or they don't know how to ask politely. People who think of themselves first usually end up unloved. They become very lonely.
God wants us to think of others and help them. In this way, we are close to him and he is close to us.
Bridging Questions: How many of you have babysat a younger brother or sister? How many of you have been babysat by an older brother or sister? What happened?
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
After the argument with the Pharisees, Jesus and his followers left the area and traveled throughout Galilee. But, Jesus did not want anyone to know where he was going. On the trip, Jesus taught his followers. "The Son of Man will be arrested by the leadership in Jerusalem and they will kill him," Jesus told them. "But, three days later, he will rise from the dead." His followers did not know what he was talking about. And, they were afraid to ask him about it.
Jesus and his followers went to Capernaum. At home, Jesus asked his followers, "What were you talking about on the way here?" But they all fell silent, because they were talking about who was the most important in the group. So, Jesus sat down, called the Twelve together, and began to teach them. "If someone wants to lead, he must be the least important follower and serve everyone else," Jesus told them. Then, Jesus took a small child, stood the child in front of the Twelve, and hugged the child. "Whoever helps someone as small and unimportant as this child because of me, helps me. And, whoever helps me really helps my Father, the one who sent me."
"Okay, Judy," her mother said as she rushed out the door. "You've got your list. Make sure Tony takes his medicine before bed. And no television after 9:00. You father and I will be back by 10:00. I expect you to be in bed with the lights out."
"Yeah, Mom," Judy replied to a closing door.
"Why can't I stay up?" Judy thought to herself. "It's Friday night and I can watch my shows on TV. Why do I have to do all the things on this list? Yeah, I'm in charge, but this is no fun!"
Judy turned to her three-year-old brother, Tony. "Young man, it's just me and you tonight," Judy said.
"Okay, Judy" Tony beamed.
"Do the dishes," Judy said as she read her mom's list out loud. "Check" She crossed out that chore on the list. "Give Tony a bath," she said to herself still reading the list. " Tony! Time for a bath."
Judy didn't hear any response. "Oh, no!" she thought to herself. "Tony's getting himself into trouble!"
Judy ran upstairs looking for her little brother. Not in his room. Not in her parents' room. Not in her room. Judy ran frantically around the upstairs, eliminating one room after another. She finally found him in the bathroom. He had unrolled the toilet paper roll. Half of it was on the ground. Judy felt relief Tony had not done something worst. She could re-roll the tissue.
With the bath water poured, Judy put Tony in the tub and began to wash him. When she washed under his right arm, ticklish Tony collapsed into laughter. "So, you think this is funny," Judy said sarcastically. She then began to tickle him all over as she washed her brother. Both laughed so hard, tears were falling over their faces. Yes, they had made a mess, but Judy could clean it up later.
After the bath, Judy tucked Tony into bed, gave him his medicine, and kissed him goodnight. She cleaned up the bathroom and returned to her mom's list. It was 8:20 P.M. Her chores were done, the list was all crossed out, and it was time for Judy to relax and watch TV. Then she heard Tony scream, "Mom! Dad! Judy!" He had another nightmare.
Judy ran upstairs. "Are you okay?" Judy asked her younger brother.
"Yeah . . . can you read me a story?" her brother said.
"Sure," Judy sighed.
Judy began to read to Tony. The longer she read, the more excited she got about the characters in the book, and the more expressive she read. After one book, Judy grabbed another, and then a third. Half way through that book, Judy asked her brother, "Isn't this story great? This was one of my favorite books!" Judy looked at her brother only to realize he was asleep. Quietly, she closed the book, got up, kissed Tony, turned out the light, and left the room.
She looked at the clock. Ten minutes to nine o'clock. "Well," Judy thought to herself, "I'm not going to watch TV, but tonight was worth it." It was worth it. She loved her brother and spending time with him was more important than TV.
Little children are important. Judy knew that. Jesus knew that. Jesus told his followers that the way they treated children showed how much they loved him. If they welcomed a small child, they welcomed him and his Father. So, be kind to children smaller than you. That way you can show Jesus how much you love him.
How can you help someone smaller than you, like a younger brother or sister?