Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Many of you may remember the musical ‘Annie get your gun’ which is an American musical comedy film,  based on the life of the sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The music and lyrics were written by the renowned Irving Berlin. In this film there is a very amusing song, sung by a man and a woman;  they like each other, but they are rivals and the song goes, “anything you can do I can do better; I can do anything bettet than you”.  It’s an amusing song, but it reveals a very iteresting fact. We all like to think that we are better than somebody else. To be first is a desire in many of us, first in class , first in sport, the favourite in the family, to be thought higly of, etc. It probably started with Adam and Eve,  and we find it now, in every human person.  It’s amazing how many stories in human tradition are driven by jealousy and envy, we could look at the prominent role of jealousy in literature, some of Shakespeare’s plays (Hamlet, Anthony and Cleopatra, The merchant of Venice, etc.), then we have the jealousy of David and Saul in the first book of Samuel in the Bible, the jealousy of Joseph and his brothers in the Book of Genesis. Jealousy is a powerful dynamic – negative – in human relations. St. Thomas Aquinas defines jealousy as: An irrational anger at the success of others. In todays gospel we find it among the apostles. They had been with Jesus for some time now, they had seen his miracles,  and heard his lessons,  but now they are arguing among themselves,  about which of them is the greatest.  And they are arguing behind Jesus’ back  as they did not want him to hear them.  Jesus does hear them and he calls them and gives them a beautiful lesson.  If you really want to be great, then be kind, be gentle,  and learn to serve others.  This is true greatness.  He then sees a little boy and calls him to the centre of the group; and then he explains: when you are nice, friendly and kind  to a little child like this,  then you are kind to me.  This is the essence of christian charity: to find Jesus and recognise him in every human person and then to treat them as you would treat Jesus.