Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him. - St Francis of Assisi
(Gospel Text: Mk 10:35-45)
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?"
They answered him, "Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."
Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
They said to him, "We can."
Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared."
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them 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."
The egotist is saddened when he does not receive recognition for the good that he has done for others. When applause is not heard, when awards are not given, and when attention is not received, the egotist retreats from his good work and fades away in self-pity. Let us remember the words of Jesus: "When you have done all that is commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty'" (Luke 17: 10).
Many times we may receive appreciation and thanks from those whom we serve. Birthday celebrations, little expressions of thankfulness, and gifts from grateful people should be seen as noble manifestations of gratitude. However, we must remember the example of Jesus. Only one of the ten lepers returned to give thanks for having been cured. It is important to remember, that despite the ingratitude of humanity, Jesus continued his mission until his CONSUMMATUM EST (“It is finished”). His reward was the cross and the empty tomb.
When we serve with a spirit of detachment, we will walk among our brothers and sisters, even among those who have been ungrateful and hateful, with joy and a smile. The disappointments and adversities that others may cause, will purify our interior motives and allow us to focus on eternity.