THE FIRST MUST BE THE LAST, THE LEADER MUST BE THE SERVANT

FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Typography

TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle B/ Year I (September 20, 2015)
Wis 2:12,17-20/Jas 3:16-4:3/Mk 9:30-37

Jesus Christ heard His disciples arguing among themselves on their way to Capernaum. He asked them about it but could not answer Him because they were arguing about who was the greatest among them. So, Jesus Christ said to them: “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mk 9:35b). With these words, Jesus presented a value that was totally distinct from what the world valued.

Two thousand years have passed and still the words of Jesus Christ ring to the ears of all Christians: “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” In spite of everything, the value of this gospel passage contradicts the values that are given importance in this modern world. For the world, the first must be the first and he can never be servant. On the other hand, the last is the last and should be the servant of all. For Christians, on the contrary, the first must be the last and the servant of all.

This Christian value has a tremendous impact to the leadership and management governance. A pagan leader lords it over his subjects but a Christian leader serves his constituents. This is what Jesus says in the gospel of Luke: “‘The kings of the pagan nations rule over them as lords, and the most hard-hearted rulers claim the title, ‘Gracious Lord.’ But not so with you; let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is the greatest, he who sits at the table or he who serves? He who is seated, isn’t it? Yet I am among you as the one who serves. (Lk 22:25-27)”

If for pagans, the greatest is the one being served, for Jesus the greatest is the one who serves. For this reason, public officials are considered public servants while the church ministers are considered servant-leaders. We must then examine whether our leaders are true leaders, serving the community and giving priority to the needs of the community or false leaders, serving only them and giving priority to their greed.

The said Christian value has also great impact to our spiritual and communal life. The apostles wanted to become first or great to Jesus. Jesus told them that for Him the great was the one who served. If we want to be close to Jesus we must serve our brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ came not to be served but to serve. As Disciples of Christ, we must look for any opportunity to be of service to our brethren. There is no excuse in serving because there are actually a lot of opportunities to serve our neighbors. Everywhere we go, there are always the presence of our needy brethren.

Moreover, to be the first in the eyes of God means to be the last in the considerations of the world and to be a Christian leader means to be the servant of all. This consequently demands the virtue of humility which is totally opposite to pride which pagan leaders and people value. The greatest for God is the humblest among all people. Let us ask the help of the Blessed Mother. She was chosen by God to be the Mother of the Son of the Most High because God has seen in her the humility of His servant. Through her intercession, may we become humble of heart and mind and lead others through our example and service.