DAILY MEDITATION: "Whoever would be great among you must be your servant"
Liturgical day: Sunday 29th (B) in Ordinary Time
Gospel text (Mk 10,35-45): James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, "Master, we want you to grant us what we are going to ask of you". And He said, "What do you want me to do for you?". They answered, "Grant us to sit one at your right and one at your left when you come in your glory". But Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized in the way I am baptized?". They answered, "We can". And Jesus told them, "The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptized in the way I am baptized. But to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to grant. It has been prepared for others".
On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John; Jesus then called them to him and said, "As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations act as tyrants and their great ones oppress them. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all. Think of the Son of Man who has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many".
"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant"
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, once more, Jesus overturns our schemes. Stirred by James and John, these words full of wisdom reach us: "The Son of Man, (…) has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life" (Mk 10, 45).
We certainly like to be properly served! Let us just think of how we can expect all public services to be efficient, punctual and clean; or how we can complain when, having paid for a certain service, we do not receive the expected compensation. Jesus Christ teaches us with his own example: He not only does his Father’s will, that includes our Redemption, but on top of it He bears a terrible cost! It is with his Blood through which our sins have been redeemed. A great paradox we shall never fully understand! He, the great King, the Son of David, who was to come in the name of the Lord, "rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; (…) becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2,7-8).
How expressive are the images of Christ on the Cross donning garments befitting a King nailed to the Cross! In our country (Catalonia) we have quite a few; it is what we call “Santes Majestats” (Their Most Holy Majesties). In a sort of catechesis, we can appreciate how to serve is to reign and how the exercise of any authority must always be a service.
Jesus overturns so much this world’s categories that He gives an entire new approach to human activities. The most praiseworthy assignment is no better than the smallest job we can carry out to identify ourselves with Christ; with more love for God and for our brothers. If we truly believe that "no one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15, 13), then we can also make the effort of offering with our work a service of human quality and professional competence, imbued with a profound Christian attitude of service. As mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say: "The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace".