For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:45).
As fully God and fully man, Jesus taught and modeled for his disciples a contrarian view of how to live in our world. He rejected the pursuit of worldly honor, power, pleasure, and wealth during the time of his earthly ministry. Jesus redirected any attention drawn himself to his Father. He epitomized the exact opposite of the cult of personality by emphasizing what is most important is developing a relationship with God and following his will by serving the needs of others, even to the point of suffering and dying to open up access to heaven for us.
On our own, we cannot achieve this freedom of service. James and John showed that they did not understand Jesus’ call to service. Instead, they were looking for seats of honor and power. Though they had experienced, studied, and were mentored by Jesus, it was not until experiencing his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, and in remaining true and faithful despite their own failures, that they came to a place of transformation through their openness to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They came to understand that Jesus called them to serve and not be served. They then fulfilled what Jesus first saw when he called them to leave their boats and follow him.
This is true for us as well. Jesus sees not just our impulsiveness, pride, and selfishness, our woundedness, and our sins, but our potential yet to be actualized. Jesus calls us to a way of life that embraces serving as he served, yet in the unique way and charism that our loving God and Father has planted in us. He has sent the Holy Spirit to meet us in our present condition, to guide and empower us with his love, so as to draw us deeper into the Mystery of God.
May we allow ourselves to receive and experience the love of God so as to resist the temptation of building our own cult of personality and self aggrandizement by supporting our ego. As Fr. Gabriel Ghanoum shared with us on our retreat this weekend, the E.G.O stands for edging God out. Instead, by inviting God in, we will better be able to love and take care of ourselves. By entertaining healthier thoughts, making time for meditation, prayer, worship, study, healthier eating, exercising, and engaging in virtuous activities and by being loved by God and loving him in return, we will properly love ourselves, so as to better serve Jesus as we are present to and serve one another.
Photo: A new day for us to love God, love ourselves, and love others. Sunrise Saturday morning at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center. Come for retreat: https://www.ourladyofflorida.org/