Jesus said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
Many years ago, I happened upon a quote that struck me deeply and has stayed with me throughout my life and ministry: “Jesus never asks anything of us that he is not willing to do first.” Our teacher and Master leads by example; we are called to follow.
Early rules of religious life, e.g., Benedict’s for monastics and Francis’ for mendicants, spoke of the evangelical life, not in terms of specific counsels (poverty, celibacy, and obedience), but as the sequela Christi (the “following of Christ”) or the imitatio Christi (the “imitation of Christ”). Imitating Christ is at the heart of Christian life. The apostle Paul states in Romans 13:14 that we are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” to be conformed to his likeness by imitating his virtues.
In today’s gospel, Jesus says that those who would be first in the kingdom must be the “the last of all,” and “the servant of all.” This is how he lived and how he shows himself to us today in the Eucharist. He gathers us, forgives us, speaks God’s word to our hearts, and shares his life and love with us in Holy Communion.
St. Peter Julian Eymard often reflected on the humility of Christ: “Is not our Lord as meek and humble in the Blessed Sacrament as he was during his life on earth? Is he not always the Good Shepherd, the Divine Consoler, the Changeless Friend?” Christ, who loves us tenderly, makes himself the last of all and the servant of all and encourages us to do the same.
To whom can I go this day, as Christ comes to me?
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, teach me your way of loving service. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)