The Gospel Today
Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus summoned the twelve and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Reflection (Sem. Maximilian B. Estayo)
One of the struggles that I face as a senior seminarian involves starting all over again. Never have I thought that I would enter priestly formation late in life. So until now, after one and a half years in the seminary, I am still adjusting to the new path I am taking.
I had already journeyed far in my profession, with so many years of hard labor in between. Then, suddenly I was thrust into this unfamiliar environment, where I have to begin afresh. In every facet of the formation, I have to be in ‘Grade One.’ I thought that if I were faint of heart and had no love for my vocation, I would think twice before getting into it.
Yet to follow Jesus means to get down from one’s high horse and work the way from the ground. The Lord had done a lot of self-emptying that it would be a shame if I, attempting to be His disciple, would be unwilling to make my own small acts of relinquishment,
That is clearly the order of discipleship as Jesus told the twelve in today’s Gospel. Don’t lord it over the people. Don’t make your authority felt. Be anonymous instead. Take the lowliest job. Don’t seek recognition.
In the seminary, the reminder takes this form. You are not entitled to anything, so better not ask for it. It is a harsh life really, but it is a good training because this is the reality of the life we are aspiring for and it is being made evident to us now.
I have been humbled enough by the new circumstances of my life. I am not only materially poor, I am also subject to authority. But I cannot complain – no servant is above his master.
In my following Christ, I have not given up much. For me, the invitation is to give up more. And that means a lot of fresh starts.