Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta has famously once said, "Not all of us can do great things. But, we can do small things with great love." The first reading prophesies the Pharisees who would ridicule Jesus, and soon, put Him to death. They tested Him mentally by constantly interrogating Him on whose authority He has to do such blasphemous acts like healing the sick on their traditional Sabbath day of rest, and proclaiming that he is the Son of God. The Pharisees oppressed their people from the laws they've created that are scribed in the books of Leviticus and Numbers. From how you pray, to washing your hands each time before you eat, they were hypocrites on how dishonorably and perfidiously they treated their poorest poor. Through their laws, they made themselves great over their vulnerable, and because of their assumed greatness, they had little heart to change. Jesus' miracles weren't enough for them to admit themselves, until their final physical test with the Cross, which was Jesus' greatest miracle that opened their blind eyes seeing what mercy truly is. Why are there conflicts in the world?
The second reading tells us that we don't live in a perfect world whose advice isn't always just, however, the wisdom from God above is ever pure and merciful. The world needs love's service, because it cannot learn love from evil of any kind. Small acts of love's service is a way to combat the evil of Satan, for that is a way of how Jesus fought Satan. In Jesus' time, the people were hoping that their Savior would be their general to lead them into battle against their captivity of the Romans. Instead, their Savior came to free them from their captivity of sin, which disappointed them, but promised something much more. There is much inconstancy to love in the world, for it doesn't always remember it, because Satan wants do everything he can to destroy it; because Satan is full of vengeance over Jesus' Resurrection that defeated him. When Jesus died on the Cross, Satan had thought that he won, and he leaped for joy. But he was proven wrong, when three days later, Jesus rose from the dead! Since then, he vowed to destroy the Church. It is up to us to fight back, and just like Jesus, one of our weapons against evil is great love! If you desire greatness, desire the grace to great love that will achieve anything. Today's Gospel reading teaches us to humble ourselves. Along their journey through Galilee, the Apostles were discussing among themselves who was the greatest, and in the house, Jesus tells them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all” (MK 9:30 - 37). Do you remember the Beatitudes? The first Beatitude states, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It is the same message as it is in today's Gospel. For instance, at a distinguished event, you may want to sit next to the host at the dining table. It would be embarrassing, if you were asked to take the seat further down. But, if you do take the furthest seat, someone might say to you, "Please, come sit next to me." Being poor in spirit has a much deeper meaning as to bring happiness to others, and last but not least, to yourself.
The world needs small acts of service, because that is how we build the Kingdom of God on earth. Greatness doesn't come from wealth. Greatness doesn't come from property. Greatness doesn't come from popularity, or lionization. The rich can be in heaven only through unremitting acts of charity. Two examples of those may be St. Katherine Drexel and St. Queen Elizabeth of Hungary. Charity is our most important virtue, because it's an act of mercy, and God's heart is mercy. Little by little, if you think you haven't done anything worthwhile, then you don't see the goodness in yourself. If you encounter doubt or mockery, remember the Beatitudes that tell us what awaits for us in heaven. Do you know St. Thérèse of Lisieux? She had famously advocated a simple way that she called her "Little Way" to get into heaven. To her, greatness is abandoned. In her writings, she has prayed once that she was too small to climb the rough stairways of perfection. She prayed for Jesus to be her elevator to heaven. She must remain little, and become this more and more. Looking back into history, empires fall. Looking into the future, the meek will inherit the land. Learn from small things, and realize that it is the small things with great love that change the world, and bring true happiness. I will close again with another quote of St. Mother Teresa with the same meaning that says, "There are no great things, only small things with great love. Happy are those."