How could James and John have missed the point in today’s Gospel? Were they not there when the rich man could not give up all his possession to the poor to follow their master? Were they not there when Jesus taught that all must be like children to enter the Father’s Kingdom? Were they not there when Jesus predicted his passion on three different accounts? Perhaps James and John were wrapped up in being the best because they gave up everything to follow Jesus.
The other ten were astounded that James and John asked such a question. Our Lord may have felt the tension among his closest friends and used this moment to make a distinction between earthly power and divine power. Earthly power are for those who seek recognition in the here a now, whose money, clout, and curriculum vitae dictates the very mission of Christ. Then there is divine power in which one must become the servant of all.
Why a servant? Jesus is not a God who sits on this throne in heaven and tells his disciples, “Do this! Do that!” He is the total opposite. He said, “Come! Follow me!” Our Almighty God became poor, our Almighty God became an immigrant to a foreign land, became the lowliest of servants as he bent to wash the mud off of our feet, so that he can offer his life as a ransom, as gift for us. The Almighty God becomes lowly, in order that he may be exalted.
What type of servant will you be? God has three sorts of servants in the world:
1. Some are slaves and serve God out of fear or cultural habit. These are the servants who serve to appease family members or who fear Hell.
2. Some are managers who serve God for wages, esteem, and recognition. These are the servants who want to be recognized for everything they donate, give, and contribute.
3. And the last are sons & daughters who serve God because they love. These are ones who give God everything, without counting the return, even without a secure promise of Heaven.
In the week ahead, let’s check our motivations. What drives us to do good to others? What moves us to worship at Mass? What compels us to bring our children to catechism each week?
I hope we strive to be who we are: sons and daughters of God who do what we do out of a response to the love that changes us, transforms us, redirects us for eternity.
When we do things rooted in love, than we are rooted to the Great High Priest, Jesus the Lord, who will now utter words through Father Eric. These are creative words that change meager gifts of unleavened bread and crushed grapes to Divine Encounter. We have access to the One who can root us firmly in unshakable love and mercy — here, we must eat and drink and be love and mercy to a world that is becoming death to his voice. So remember to be servants, for it is a divine task. In being servants remember love’s haunting, life-changing, unforgettable words, “This is my body. This is my blood. Take, eat, and drink.”