Jeremiah was one of those prophets who had a really tough go of things. As we see in today’s first reading from Jeremiah 18, the people were plotting against him. They were “carefully noting his every word.” Even though Jeremiah went before the Lord to stick up for them. Now this. No good deed goes unpunished. In the Gospel today from Matthew 20, we hear Jesus once again telling the Twelve that they must be servants.
The mother of James and John came to Jesus to ask that her boys sit at Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom. The other ten didn’t take too kindly to this. They probably all wanted to be afforded the same privilege. But Jesus lets them know what that will entail. “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” Servant?! Slave?! Why, those are the low men on the totem pole! These were the guys that were hand-picked by Jesus himself to be the leaders of the Church. Leaders aren’t servants! Leaders aren’t slaves!
Or are they? “Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve…” Look at the example of Jesus. Healing. Teaching. Feeding. Washing feet. Radical ideas about leadership, no? These men, the Twelve, were the first bishops of the Church. And our bishops today are tasked with the same job. To be servants. To be the slaves of all. I hope that today we will pray for our bishops. Pray that they will remember these words of Jesus. All of our priests and religious should be living out the example of Jesus. Are we?
Father, teach us to be servants and slaves. Help us to follow the example of Jesus and give up our lives in service to others. Amen.
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