Servant Leader

July 25, 2017
Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Matthew 20:20-28

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her,
“What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, 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. John Paul S. Adia)

I have been amazed by a Visayan word Maglingkod, which means to sit. The beauty of this word makes its Filipino counterpart a lot more meaningful. People aim for a position. A seat signifies an office or a responsibility. To be in a position connotes being on top – the boss, leader, powerful, influential, favorite, privileged, and many more. But the word Maglingkod gives the true meaning of public service and even of being a leader. To be in a position (seated or Nakaupo) is to become a servant (lingkod).

The mother of James and John risked to ask that favor. Even the two affirmed that request. But Jesus made it clear to them that this is not the way of man. To know who is worthy to be beside Jesus requires a person’s personal and free embracing of the way of Jesus – which is the way of the cross. Who can endure such kind of humility and service? Jesus exemplified this and so He is asking for that kind of attitude. Man in this world would always demands the advantages of being in the position. He has privileges to enjoy and even the conveniences that this world can offer. But Jesus offers the chalice of His sufferings. Man in his own ways cannot endure such kind of suffering. He would rather choose anything that can avoid it. Jesus wants us to embrace it.

Who can say, “I am worthy to become a priest”, or at least “I am worthy to become a seminarian?” Or for those who are parent or a child? I believe that we too cannot say that we are worthy and the key to remain in such identity is to be humble. I, as a seminarian, am amazed on how God keeps on blessing me with this vocation. There are times that I failed to pattern my life to Him – may it be through words or actions. But He called me. In His calling, I need to be humble and to develop that connection that is demanded of this priestly path, and that is to become a servant. The higher the step in formation years, the more this attitude has to be formed. At the end, we need to choose, to act with humility and to embrace that identity of being a servant in our daily asking for God’s grace to live out what is His will.

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