Thursday, October 18, 2012
None of that
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
October 14, 2012
As they are going up to Jerusalem, Jesus is announcing to his disciples the sorrowful destiny that awaits him in the capital. The disciples don't understand him. They go along fighting among themselves over the top positions. James and John, disciples from the start, approach him to ask him directly if they might one day sit "one at your right and the other at your left."
Jesus looks discouraged. "You do not know what you are asking." No one in the group seems to understand that following him closely, collaborating on his project, will always be a path not to power and grandeur, but to sacrifice and the cross.
Meanwhile, upon learning of James and John's boldness, the other ten are indignant. The group is more agitated than ever. Ambition is dividing them. Jesus gathers them all to make his thoughts clear.
First of all, he sets out what happened in the towns of the Roman empire. They all know the abuses of Antipas and the Herodian families in Galilee. Jesus sums it up thus: Those who are recognized as rulers use their power to "tyrannize" the people, and the powerful do nothing except "oppress" their subjects. Jesus cannot be more blunt: "It shall not be so among you."
He doesn't want to see anything like that among his own. "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all." In his community there will be no room for power that oppresses, only for service that helps. Jesus doesn't want chiefs seated at his right and left, but servants like himself, who give their lives for others.
Jesus makes it clear. His Church isn't built from the imposition of those above but from the service of those who are below. There's no room in it for any hierarchy in terms of honor or domination. Nor for methods of force and power strategies either. It's service that builds the Christian community.
Jesus gives so much importance to what he is saying that he offers himself as an example since he hasn't come into the world to demand to be served but "to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Jesus doesn't teach anyone to triumph in the Church but to serve the plan of the Kingdom of God by pouring out our lives for the weakest and neediest.
Jesus' teaching isn't just for the leaders. In different tasks and responsibilities, we all have to commit ourselves to live with more devotion at the service of his plan. We don't need imitators of James and John in the Church but faithful followers of Jesus. Those who want to be important, let them get to work and collaborate.