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Becoming a Servant

     As we draw a closer and closer to the end of our liturgical year, the readings focus us on eschatological events. It brings our attention to the identity of Jesus and what his ultimate goal is. The readings have now begun to build up to the climatic end of the feast of Christ the King, when Christ is finally revealed has king of the whole world.  However, with the readings now, we learn a part of Jesus that is new to the disciples. We learn that Jesus will be/ is the suffering servant. That he has come to serve and not to be served (Mk 10:45) and that he has come to set an example in living our lives (Jh 13:15).

    Again this weekend we hear the second of three passion predictions. (the eschatological element to the reading) The disciples had just witnessed the transfiguration of the Lord into his heavenly, perfect, figure talking with Moses and Elijah. Jesus then bursts their bubbles, by bringing them back into reality saying that he must be: betrayed, killed and resurrected on the third day (Most biblical scholars agree that the line of the resurrection was added by the author of the Gospel, or else, they predict, the women and disciples who saw the empty tomb would have believed)

     For the past three years Jesus had been revealing who he was through actions and teachings.  As a result of that, the disciples had grown in the understanding that to be a disciple they too should and will be able to preform great miracles. However, Jesus calls his disciples to follow him in being a suffering servant. He calls them to be with people and to serve people.

     Within the first-century Palestine culture, hierarchy defined society. So, with the confusion (and assumed denial) of Jesus' passion statement, the disciples begin to argue about who is the greatest (presumably among themselves since the phrase, "in the kingdom of God" is not included unlike in the other two synoptic gospels). Even with this subject, Jesus brings them back to understanding their role as being a servant. Jesus brings a child to the centre of them, and embraces the child. The child represents not so much as innocence as much as a lack of identity within society. The term used for "child" can also be translated into "servant." The child represents, that the followers will not be powerful people, but will rather be simple, humble servants of others.

      Jesus promises as well, that when we become a servant that we will attain happiness, truth, and will be with him. It is the modern irony of following the cross: The world tells us to seek the greatest, the best, and the to be the best because it is in those that we find pleasure. However Christ calls us to be a servant, to lower ourselves and serve others, because in it we will find happiness and fulfilment. Pleasure, which society offers, happens in a moment; it's a momentary feeling, whereas happiness is eternal, lasting and healthy. Christ calls us to this happiness, if we deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow him.

    As everyone knows, starting on December 8th of this year Pope Francis has called for an extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. I believe with this year Francis wants us to become and live out our call to be servants. It is a year to truly live out the faith, and to show each and every person the mercy, forgiveness and providence of God. This Jubilee allows us to reflect on the call to be servants and how we can live out our calling. Francis has also granted that anyone who preforms one of the seven corporal or spiritual works  of Mercy will be granted the Jubilee indulgence.

   Has we shortly arrive at the Jubilee of Mercy, may we come reflecting on what it means to be servants in our lives. Like the apostles, we too, can become distracted in wanting to become the greatest and the best. However, Christ is saying to us that we must deny our selves, pick up our cross and follow him. It is through our self-denial that we become an instrument of God, a servant. Jesus calls us to be a servant, a servant of love, compassion and beauty-like a child. Are we willing to lower ourselves so has to attain the greatness that comes from following Christ?


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