Who is the Goat?
This is a common abbreviation that is used today which means the greatest of all time.
We like to focus on who is the greatest.
If you watch the sports shows on TV or listen to the radio, you’ll hear the discussion come up quite often.
I did an Internet search of the Goat in Sports.
Some names that came up were Michael Jordon, Babe Ruth, Serena Williams, Wayne Getszky, Nadia Comenic, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods.
I’m sure that you recognize these, and you can think of some others.
When you think of someone who is the Goat it is the top performer in a particular field.
It could be sports, business, entertainment, or political leaders.
It’s interesting to discuss who is the greatest and we all may have opinions on who they are.
When you think of someone who is the Goat it’s usually the one with the most skill, power, influence, net worth that leads to fortune and fame.
These are all measures of success of the greatest in the world we live in.
This week we hear the disciples of Jesus discussing who is the greatest among themselves
Jesus teaches them a lesson on who will be the greatest in the God’s kingdom which is much different than the greatest of the world.
Today’s Gospel starts off with Jesus going on a journey through Galilee with his disciples.
He wanted to be alone with them as he was going to tell them a second time of the events that would eventually lead to his death and resurrection.
He was telling them that he was going to make the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life.
But they didn’t seem to understand what he was telling them and were afraid to ask him any questions.
As the disciples continued on their journey, they were not at all focused on what Jesus had told them.
They were focusing on themselves, and who was going to be the greatest among them.
They had been with Jesus for some time and experienced his miracles of healings and casting out demons, the multiplication of the loaves feeding thousands, and transfiguration with Elijah and Moses appearing.
They must have been anticipating that something greater was coming in following Jesus and wanted to position themselves to be first among the disciples to be rewarded.
Jesus knew they did not yet comprehend what required to be greatest in his Kingdom.
He tells them, “If anyone wish to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all”.
He then finds and child to give them an example of what he means.
At the time of Jesus children were of the lowest of status, equivalent to a slave.
There was a very high mortality rate and only 40% of children lived to the age of sixteen.
Until a person reached adulthood they were not seen as any real status.
Jesus tells them something that was probably quite contrary to their understanding,
“Whoever receive one child such as this in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but the me who sent me”
He was telling them that to the be greatest they had to be of service to the least in the world, a little child who had no status, and in doing so they would be serving God.
This was probably not at all what the disciples where expecting and it would take them more time to learn.
As disciples of Jesus, we are all still trying to learn about what it means to be the greatest in God’s Kingdom.
Being the last of all and servant of all is so contrary to the values of the culture that we live in.
The culture is focused on having the most money, power, and fame to be the greatest.
The Church helps us to become the greatest in God’s kingdom by serving those who are the least.
The Church does so by example in speaking out for a providing ministry for those who are most vulnerable and considered the least in our world,
those with mental illness,
refugees and immigrants escaping poverty and violence,
those affected by human trafficking,
Who is the Church?
Of course, we have the Church and the formal hierarchy of Pope and Bishops that speak out on defending the least of all.
But we the people who make up the Church are the ones who can make the most difference in serving those who are most in need.
How can we do this?
One important way is to support the ministries we have in our own parish, the Gabriel Project, the Food Pantry, and special collections we have throughout the year that support those who are most vulnerable.
There are also the Catholic Charities ministries in the Archdiocese that serve those who are most in need that we can volunteer for and provide financial support.
We can also speak up for to defend the unborn, poor, elderly, and persecuted among those we associate at work or school and among family and friends.
When we support those who are the least, we are striving to be the greatest of all time, not in the world, but in God’s kingdom.