Our gospel today was the scripture passage that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used as the text for the last sermon he gave before his assassination. He entitled it “The Drum Major Instinct.” He pointed out that all of us have a drive toward attention, toward being first, toward being important. That drive can be distorted and perverted. We feel anger and resentment when we think others are getting “uppity.” The other disciples reacted that way once they found out what James and John were up to. But Dr. King points out that Jesus does not condemn them. Instead he redefines what it means to be great. He encourages them to be first in love, in moral excellence, in generosity, in service. Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.
—Fr. Joe Folzenlogen, S.J. is a pastoral minister in Cincinnati, OH, where he has long contributed to care for the poor and those in need.