“Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” This is Jesus’ most challenging teaching. His own life was an explanation of that teaching. “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” His teaching has two parts.
The first part was shocking in Jesus’ day, and remains shocking today. Jesus doesn’t use the word servant—he uses the word slave. Some may think it’s an exaggeration Jesus used to get our attention. He often used exaggeration when he taught. For example: “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out!”
But, then, in the account of Mary’s annunciation, she tells Gabriel that she’s “God’s slave (doula).” Our sugar-coated translation of that word is “handmaid of the Lord.” In that passage Luke is presenting Mary as the model disciple. She’s giving 100% of herself to God, and God will use her in the divine plan of redemption.
This brings us to the second part of the teaching: the Son of Man “will give his life as a ransom for many.” This, most certainly, is not an exaggeration. Jesus’ death on the cross will bring salvation to the human family. This is the foundation of our belief as Christians. However, we tend to overlook the interaction of the two parts of this teaching.
Jesus is teaching that when we liberate ourselves from our egos and become slaves of all, we, like Mary, the model disciple, participate in the redemption of the world. Each time we partake in the Eucharist that redemptive moment is integrated into our very lives. When we “give our lives” to our Lord, we also join Jesus as he “gives his life as a ransom of many.”
How are we, as disciples, called to partake in the life and mission of Jesus?
Let Us Pray
Lord, give me the strength to be a true and dedicated disciple. Heal in me whatever it is that keeps me from offering myself to you completely and without hesitation. Send your Spirit to strengthen me that I may raise a “yes” to your invitation to follow you.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)