Feast of Saint James, Apostle
The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
This is the conclusion of a passage that is an embarrassment in the life of James. It’s a shame that this is what the church wants us to know of James on his feast day. This is the last of the three predictions of the passion Jesus made in Mark’s Gospel. Matthew could not bring himself to think that James (and John) would ask for something so crass after Jesus told them that he was going to suffer and die. So he has their mother ask Jesus to do a favor her boys.
That seeking preferment and honors was not limited to these two is evident in all the gospels. Luke tells us that even at the Last Supper a dispute broke out about who was the greatest. And he warns all of us that whoever want to be greatest must become the servant of all (Luke 22:24-27). Thus ending our gospel passage today with Jesus saying pointedly that he himself came only to serve not to be served is an appropriate warning to all of us that our own discipleship should be based on service to all God’s children.
How strange it is that down through the centuries, lust for greatness and honors has always plagued the church. How can people who celebrate the Eucharist fail to enter in to the reality of the life-giving service of Jesus and his willingness to suffer and die for all of us. The Eucharist is always meant as a challenge for us to imitate the one who comes not to be served, but to give his life as a ransom for many.
How can I be of service to someone today?
Let Us Pray:
O Loving Lord, help me to measure my love of you by how willingly I serve the needs of others.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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