Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon observed there are two kinds of people in the world: some want to be served, and some desire to serve everyone else.
“Which is the best kind of people?” the Archbishop asked the congregation of altar servers at a Thanksgiving Mass for the Altar Servers’ Council Sunday, November 5. The venue was the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain.
In response, Archbishop Gordon asserted, “to serve everybody else”, emphasising that the identity of altar servers is to have a disposition of “whatever I am asked to do, I will be happy to do it”.
Reflecting on the reading from the Gospel of Matthew 23: 1–12, the Archbishop asked the altar servers if in their groups and community, it’s easy for people to be humble and perform their duties without drama or ego.
He warned of the consequences of putting oneself first before others and how it can lead to negative opinions such as being perceived as “too stush”, “too uppity” or too selfish.
“And that’s what the reading is about. Jesus is speaking about some of the religious leaders of His day and saying they occupy the seat of authority but don’t follow what they do because they [were] not acting out of humility,” Archbishop Gordon said.
He further explained someone can have authority because of the position they have, but that doesn’t mean they have authority because of their character.
Archbishop Gordon reiterated the name altar ‘servers’ indicates coming to serve the Lord and the priest through serving the sacred liturgy. A server’s role is to ensure that the prayer goes well, and humility is at the core of service.
He then encouraged the altar servers to think about those who try to inflate their egos, underscoring such behaviour often stems from feelings of pride or inadequacy, which, he opined, “are two parts of a coin.”
The Archbishop reminded the altar servers of an activity he assigned them last year: making a daily sacrifice, even in simple acts.
He urged them to practise serving every day, not just during Mass, and support each other in their daily sacrifices. Archbishop Gordon emphasised that as a Christian, regular practices of giving up something good for something better should be established.
“… what starts to happen is serving becomes natural to you and then you become the kind of person who always looks for an opportunity to serve others and then you become a really humble person,” the Archbishop said.
Before the final blessing, Fr Kenwyn Sylvester announced a Vocation Awareness Week November 12 to 17 featuring various planned activities on how persons can use their gifts to glorify and serve God.
— Kalanne Jordan