Gospel: Matthew 20:20-28
Then the mother of James and John came to Jesus with her sons, and she knelt down, to ask a favor. Jesus said to her, “What do you want?” And she answered, “Here, you have my two sons. Grant, that they may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said to the brothers, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They answered, “We can.” Jesus replied, “You will indeed drink my cup; but to sit at my right or at my left is not for me to grant. That will be for those, for whom my Father has prepared it.”
The other ten heard all this, and were angry with the two brothers. Then Jesus called them to him and said, “You know, that the rulers of nations behave like tyrants, and the powerful oppress them. It shall not be so among you: whoever wants to be great in your community, let him minister to the community. And if you want to be the first of all, make yourself the servant of all. Be like the Son of Man, who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life to redeem many.”
“The servant of all.”
Jesus sets the criteria for greatness, that is service. It is not power or the position one assumes. He laid this down as distinctive feature of how things run in the kingdom. In the com- munity of disciples, human af- fairs are not to proceed through ambition and power, but service as the principle that should cha- racterize the community, par- ticularly those who hold leader- ship position(s).
A stark contrast is made clear, and Jesus modeled the manner by which the disciples/we are to conduct themselves/ourselves. Service, as motivated by love, addresses and fills a need. It seeks and is directed toward the good of the other. It is a going out of oneself because it sees a need outside of himself/herself. Whereas ambition’s and power’s primary objective is self-interest. Because they are directed to- ward self-benefit, ambition and power corrupts the human per- son. Their oppressive exercise manipulates, abuse and destroy. And their end result is the disin- tegration of Earth-human rela- tionship and community.
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