First or Last

by Sr. Juliemarie Mcdonald SND on 10/13/2015

in Ordinary Time

Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time — Cycle B 

October 18, 2015

“Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” (Mk 10: 37)

First or Last

Be careful when you long to sit on left or right of the Master.

Coveting the number one spot isn’t all it seems to be.

You could end up being Pharisaical.

We pity the blissful, supreme untouchables.


Yes, pity the “I’m glads,”

Not like the rest of men.

They proudly take the first place of darkness,

Stumbling through life, glad not to be like the rest of men.

Is this perhaps the reason Jesus confronted James and John?

Can you drink the cup of woe or trod the path daily journeyed to meet the foe?

Do you really understand what #1 would really mean?

You could be disgraced and humbled to your knees.

So think this over, James and John, “Is this your life time need?

Is this how you two want to succeed?”

You see, The Kingdom of God is different from the kingdoms here on earth.

Your golden, ruby-studded throne might become a wooden cross.

The crown you wear might not glimmer bright with sparkling gems,

Instead a vine of thorns could pierce your head.

Are you sure you can do much good and then succeed if you are the chosen ones?

I know not who the chosen are,

But this I know for sure,

They will be wise as serpents and simple as doves,

And their true goal will be to love, to love.

They will compassion be and merciful.

They will teach forgiveness and bring about peaceful reconciliation.

James and John, you’d be better off if you chose the last place.

Remember my words, “The last will be first.”


For Reflection and Sharing:

  1. Why were the other disciples justified in being angry at James and John?
  2. How did Jesus wake up James and John to reality?
  3. How might this reading be a parable for we who are reflecting upon it?
  4. What is your take on Pharisaical people?
  5. What are some Pharisaical characteristics I might be exhibiting?
  6. When will I decide that I might be a little like the “untouchables” and act upon it?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sister Kathleen Tobin October 14, 2015 at 9:36 am

Dear Sister Juliemarie,
Greetings from Bethany Retreat Center!
Your reflections on “First and Last” fit right into my retreat, since this is quite the same thing the Beatitudes are telling us. Thank you so much.
Sister Kathleen


Sr. Juliemarie McDonald October 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm

You are quite welcome. May the blessing of your retreat continue to flow throughout the entire year. You are in my prayers each night. Sr. Juliemarie


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