Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
Mark 10:35-45 or 10:42-45
The readings for today remind me of a chapter from the book, "Journeys of Courage," pages 38-39. It is a reflection about the tragedy of 9/11. What is service all about? Does it come naturally? Does it cost? "Firefighting is a very dangerous business. It’s not just an occupation, because thousands of people rely on us to take care of them. So regardless of how we might feel, we still have to go out and do our job well. After the World Trade Center came down on 9/11, most of the guys were anxious to go to a fire as soon as possible. It was like getting back up on a horse again after falling off and being injured.
"We call what happens around the firehouse table the ‘healing process.’ This old kitchen table really helps us out. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on here, a lot of talking, crying, making fun of each other, laughing, healing. Kenny and Stevie and Neal (three of their buddies who died) would want us to do it this way. We’re a community, a family, and we try to be there for each other, to help each other out in various ways. One day we might be patting a guy on the back and then the next day dumping a bucket of water on his head. Crying and laughing together have been important in our healing process. Maybe that’s what makes this occupation so special. There are many other occupations out there that don’t have the luxury of being around a kitchen table, of having twenty-nine brothers growing up in a home together."
Are we being told that helping others has to be nourished? That it doesn’t happen automatically? Is this what happens at the Eucharistic table? Is this what needs to be taken back to our kitchen tables? Is this what happened that day when Jesus appeared in the upper room, where the doors were locked shut? Would James and John be turning over and over in their heads and hearts what Jesus’ presence was saying to them about service? It wasn’t a place of honor at a table. "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve." "Greater love than this no one has than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
Fr. Peter Berendt, C.P. is the senior priest at Immaculate Conception Parish in Chicago, Illinois.