What does the word house or home mean to you? Our houses, our homes mean more to us than a physical structure in which we find shelter. Home is a place of stability and security. Home is a place where we can be our true selves. In this Sunday’s gospel (Mark 9:30-37), Jesus journeys with His disciples to Capernaum and enters “the house,” his home, we imagine. Before they arrived, Jesus had announced for the second time that He would be betrayed, killed, and rise again after three days. The disciples did not understand Jesus’ declaration but began arguing about who is the greatest. On entering the house Jesus asked them, “What were you arguing about along the way?” Jesus could have questioned them as they traveled, but He waited until they entered the home, the interior space, symbolizing the movement into the true inner self, the spiritual awakening into which He was inviting the disciples. The spiritual challenge was to re-consider and reframe greatness from God’s perspective.
The world definition of greatness is rooted in personal accomplishments, power, and wealth. And our social system is structured on ideas of ranking in which some are “the greatest” and others, “the least.” But Jesus invites us to move into the spiritual realm and consider greatness from God’s perspective. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Jesus is first in the kingdom because He came on earth, not in pomp and power, but in servant-like humility, the least. He accepted suffering and death, offering His very life for our salvation. He appeared to be last in death but rose victoriously into new and everlasting life. His humility was transformed into glory! Jesus is the Supreme Lord, the Exalted One, the Greatest. Greatness, from God’s perspective, is embodied in Jesus’ humble, sacrificial self-giving love and mercy. We bow down in reverence and gratitude for being embraced in Jesus’ boundless love, admitting that we, like children, are weak. Jesus welcomes the meek, the lowly into the family of God, not by our merit but by our accepting His offer of salvation. As followers, we continue Christ’s redeeming work by striving to uplift the human dignity of the lowly, vulnerable, and powerless, for all are invited into the heavenly home of peace and rest with the Father eternally.