Friday, October 16, 2015

It shall not be so among you

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
October 18, 2015

Mark 10:35-45

James and John, sons of Zebedee, separate from the group and approach Jesus alone. They don't need the others. They want to gain the most privileged positions and be first in Jesus' plan, such as they imagine it. Their request isn't an appeal but a ridiculous ambition: "We want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." They want Jesus to put them above the others.

Jesus seems surprised. "You do not know what you are asking." They haven't understood him at all. With great patience he invites them to ask themselves if they are capable of sharing his painful fate. When they realize what has happened, the other ten disciples are filled with indignation at James and John. They had the same aspirations too. Ambition divides them and sets them in opposition. Seeking self-interested honors and prominence always breaks up the communion of the Christian community. Today too. What could be more contrary to Jesus and his plan to serve the liberation of the people?

The act is so serious that Jesus "summons them" to make clear what attitude must always characterize his followers. They know too well how the Romans, "rulers of the people," and the "great ones" of the earth act -- they tyrannize people, make them submit, and make everyone feel the weight of their power. Well, "it shall not be so among you."

Among his followers, everything is to be different: "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all." Greatness isn't measured by the power one has, the rank one occupies, or the titles one holds. Whoever covets these things in Jesus' Church, doesn't make themselves greater but more insignificant and ridiculous. Actually, it's a hindrance to promoting the lifestyle desired by the Crucified One. They lack a basic feature to be a follower of Jesus.

In the Church, we are all to be servants. We are to place ourselves in the Christian community not on top, based on superiority, self-interested power or prominence, but below, based on helpfulness, service and aid to others. Our example is Jesus. He never lived "to be served, but to serve." This is the best and most admirable summary of what he was -- service to all.

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