Wednesday, Second Week of Lent

March 15, 2017

"Whoever Desires To Be Great Among You Shall Be Your Servant"


Jeremaih 18:18-20; Psalms 31:5-6, 14, 15 – 16; Matthew 20:17-28

 

by Mr. Mberu Chidiebere, nSJ

Reflecting on today's gospel reading, I discovered that it dwells on two important words that are part of the major challenges we struggle with in life and to which Jesus continually invites us to pay close attention, so as to improve on them. They are; "Unconcern and Humility". In the gospel reading, we realize that the word "unconcern" really played out in the lives of the disciples of Jesus. They never felt worried, neither did they feel disquieted nor perturbed at Jesus' forecast of the impending danger that was fast approaching. Jesus was telling them to expect his betrayal and death, but they were busy thinking about their place in the kingdom. This is typified in the lives of the sons of Zebedee (James and John), who wanted their thrones above everyone else's by seeking this favour from Jesus through their mother. Chapter 9:30-35 of Mark's gospel tells us that all the disciples were jockeying for positions in the coming kingdom instead of being concerned about the predicted death of their Lord and Master. It is this same unconcern that we experience from time to time, and sometimes, it does happen amongst us (Christians), unknowingly. Jesus invites us in today's gospel to re-examine our relationship with people around us, especially those who needed to be shown love and those mostly in need of our concern.

The two sons of Zebedee were far from the reality, that was why Jesus enriched their knowledge with the teachings on humility, which he also invites each and every one of us to imbibe. Whoever desires to be great among you shall be your servant. If we read Paul's letter to the churches at Colossae and Corinth, (Colossians 1:23-25, 1st Corinthians 3:5), we would see that St. Paul uses the word "servant" frequently to show that he is merely a servant of Christ. In John's Gospel, 3:17, Jesus is presented as a servant, and in St. Paul's letter to the Philippians 2:7, the same Jesus is presented as a slave – to tell us of the degree of humility which our Heavenly Father invites us to embrace. The Christian life is not one of self-seeking, but sacrifice (Luke 14:26-27). To be great is to put one's talents totally at the service of others as we see in the life of Jesus who put his whole life at our disposal so that we should experience fullness of life; and we are all invited to take part in this same great enterprise.

Friends in the Lord, as we gradually journey with Jesus in this Lenten season, he invites us to embrace humility to the core, to go deep into the practice of love for one another, and to be charitable to those in most need of our help. AMEN!!!

 

*Mr. Mberu Chidiebere, nSJ is a second year Novice in the Jesuit Novitiate in Benin City, Nigeria. 

 

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