Have you ever watched children play hockey when they are just starting out? Despite the best efforts of the coaches to assign positions, all players tend to rush at the puck in unison, with those who are a little more confident on their skates leading the pack. This continues until one player loses his or her footing and brings all the players down in a wriggling heap.
Parents watching from the sidelines do their best to cover smiles and hold in laughter as they watch their little ones’ efforts to be first and seize the puck. In time, they will learn the value of teamwork and the importance of playing in their assigned positions.
In today’s reading, James and John were vying to be first among the twelve disciples to the anger of the other ten. Even as adults, we often forget the importance of teamwork in the desire to be number one. Our society grooms us to seek this position. With the patience of a parent, Jesus explains that being first is not the real endgame we should be playing for. Instead, service and not success is the achievement we should seek.
Dear Lord, help us to remember to seek your ways when the call of the world is deafening. Amen. — CS