Catholic Austria

One greater than I

“One mightier than I is coming after me.” (from Mk 1, 1-8)

One greater than I. In the world that we grow up and live in – at least, in the world I grew up in – the message is: I am the greatest.

You hear it all the time: you can be successful. You can make a name for yourself. You can get a good job. It can be all about you – what you can accomplish, what you can produce, what you can be. It’s no wonder that we are not free. We’re always wondering: am I successful? Am I making a name for myself? Am I accomplishing enough, doing enough? And then the revolutionary message at the beginning of Mark’s gospel: I’m not the greatest. I’m not the whole story. There is someone greater than I.

It gets more interesting. The person who is greater than you is someone who knows you better than you know yourself. He’s someone who loves you more than you love yourself.

What difference does it make if we believe that? I think it makes us more free. That’s the big difference – to be able to say on one hand, “I’m not the greatest”, and on the other hand, “I don’t have to be the greatest.” It takes away a lot of pressure.

I can do my work, go to university, I can live my life, without constantly thinking about how much I’m succeeding or how much money I’m making, how much I’m getting done, or whatever else it might be that we decide to worry about. It’s freeing to be able to say: there is someone greater than I, and this person knows me and loves me without condition.

So you’re not the greatest, and you don’t have to be.