Leaders must serve. MARK 10:35–45
By the Archbishop’s Appeal
Five key points come to the forefront of this gospel reading, with overlapping and intertwining. The gospel is truly the living Word of God, relevant to our lives and our world today.
Two disciples approach Jesus asking Him to do them a favour. “What is it you want me to do for you?” They answered Him, “Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.”
James and John ask Jesus a bold question, one which is indicative of who they are as disciples. Their desire to sit on either side of Jesus tells us of their higher aspirations.
We ask ourselves, ‘Do I aspire to be close to Jesus, to be in His glory, and to sit near to Him?’. To be close to Jesus means listening to His Word, following His path, and helping others along the way. When we uplift others, we rise as well.
Where there is love, there resides God. A heart filled with love for another yearns to be close to the beloved.
James and John love Jesus, and this love they feel, compels them to want to be wherever He is, wherever He is going. We ask ourselves, ‘do I love Jesus?’. To love Jesus is to love all His children, to appreciate their presence in our lives, including the challenging and difficult people, including the less fortunate and differently minded people, and including those with who do not love us.
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking…Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?” They said to Him, “We can.”
Without Jesus explaining the cup from which He will drink or the baptism He is about to receive, James and John, confirm they could. This is complete trust in Jesus, that whatever He endures, they too are willing to endure.
We ask ourselves, ‘are we willing to sacrifice for Jesus?’. As Catholics, we have heard the popular refrain, ‘no cross – no glory’. As trepidatious as this sounds, we must remember that God does not give us more than we could handle. When our crosses appear, brace and hoist, Jesus reassures us that He will help carry our burden, if we only ask Him.
Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus guides us with His gentle words of service and humility. To serve others is to serve God, to recognise the divinity in others. To show humility is to acknowledge that we are not perfect. Yet, Jesus is the epitome of servant leadership. He shares knowledge, He serves us, and He has sacrificed His life that we may have life.
In this gospel reading, Jesus maps the way to His Kingdom. In today’s setting, are we aspiring for what’s noble? Are we showing our love for God, His children, and His creation? Are we willing to sacrifice for the collective good of all? Are we serving with humility? Are we aligning our life’s purpose with God?
We face unrelenting bombardment from distractions and diversions which could lead us astray. If we unwittingly and unconsciously follow every tangent, we will find ourselves down rabbit holes which lead nowhere.
Self-introspection is a useful habit to adopt, not only when things go awry, but daily, to ensure we are on His path, following His light.
The gospel meditations for October are by members of the Archbishop’s Appeal. The Appeal supports the work of the Catholic Church through humble discipleship, obedience to God and universal love for mankind. The Appeal’s efforts are inspired by faith and guided by the desire to create a strong national culture of harmony and unity. As an agency and as individuals, we are committed to cultivating the moral and spiritual elements of every human being through prayer, service, and the communal will to improve.