At whose service?
The story is told about a man with sleep disorder who went to a psychiatrist because of his fear that there’s someone under his bed. After one session, he quit. Too expensive. Who helped him solve his problem? The bartender, who simply advised him to cut the legs of his bed! Now he sleeps soundly, assured that there’s no one there.
In today’s Gospel (Mk. 10:35-45), Jesus teaches His disciples the value of humility. It is when we cut down our pride and lower our ambitions that the fears and ghosts that haunt us, real or imagined, disappear, and we are freed from useless worries and imaginings.
There was already politics during Jesus’ time, even among His disciples. James and John asked from Jesus power and choice position in His kingdom. Jesus’ response was: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” A very good and timely reminder for those preparing for the upcoming 2019 elections.
It is amazing how many people who are running for public office claim to do so to “serve the people.” They go to great lengths, spend so much money, sacrifice retirement years and family unity, and, God forbid, even use fraud and violence, to serve the people? Maybe, but more likely, to serve themselves, and their families, much much more. Take a look at the way they live, and how they’ve increased their wealth. By their fruits, indeed, you will know them.
For proud and arrogant public officials, Jesus has this to say: “You know how those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles rule it over them, and their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you.” Loud and clear: Public officials should be humble servants and slaves of all.
The desire for recognition and authority is present in each one of us, but if it becomes per se, a passion, an obsession or a lifetime preoccupation, then something is wrong. Our worth as persons is not so much on what we have as on who we are; not so much on our titles and functions as on who we are as persons.
Our biggest regret at our life’s end is when we realize how we missed the chance to use our wealth, power, authority, resources and connections to help other people, because of our selfishness and pride.
“Hail Mary, full of grace…” This is a beautiful fitting description of our Blessed Mother and model. We ask ourselves today: What am I full of? Full of _______? Full of money? Full of pride? Full of myself? Full of anger, fears and pretenses? May we recognize, acknowledge and focus on grace more, and less on worldly wealth and achievements. May we also recognize grace even, and especially, in our pains, illnesses, disappointments and sufferings!
Grace is God’s presence and love in us, among us and around us. Let us focus more on grace, and less on our worries and fears, less on our wealth and riches, less on our sins and offenses, less on our titles and achievements. Focus more on grace, and you’ll experience untold freedom and peace. Amazing grace!
Let me end with a story about a truck that got stuck under a flyover because it was over the allowed height limit. There was a lot of discussion as how to remedy the situation, until a little boy made a simple suggestion: Deflate the tires.
Maybe that is all that we all need.
Let us deflate our tires so full of selfishness and pride, so that we can move on and don’t get stuck.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, remind us that public service is at Your service, and at Your people’s service, and definitely, not self-service. Amen.
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