Seeking “greatness” by our humble service Reflection for 31st Sunday of the Year

You know her. She’s the quiet relative or friend or co-worker who speaks wisely in her generosity, in her optimism, in her indomitable spirit. Her gracious and positive attitude during a serious illness some time ago inspired her family and friends. Her life has not been easy; she’s known more heartache and brokenness than most of us — but she constantly manages to seek the good in everyone; she happily gives her time and energy to make things work for the good of all. When you thank her or compliment her, she shakes her head, quietly expressing gratitude for what she has and what she is able to do.

You know him. He’s the neighbour who can fix anything — and is always ready to lend a hand. He’ll keep an eye on things while you’re away. Tomatoes and lettuce from his garden are always part of your summer barbecues. He finds joy in helping you and other families in the neighbourhood. He’s delighted and grateful to be useful.

Our lives are graced by people like them. We would like to be as kind and as generous as they are, to be as respected as we respect them. Their “greatness” is what they give of themselves; they are “masters” in their service to others; their humility and respect for everyone are to their honour.

These good people who bless our lives with compassion and support, wisdom and care, are the manifestation of the Kingdom of God in our midst. May we, too, seek “greatness” in that Kingdom by our humble service to others, by honouring the dignity of everyone as a daughter and son of God, by approaching the ups and downs of life with gratitude and optimism.