Following Jesus on the way of service | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Following Jesus on the way of service


Is 53,2a.3a.10-11; Heb 4,14-16; Mk 10,35-45

1. Dear sisters, dear brothers,
May the Lord give you peace!
The readings of this Sunday present us with the person of Jesus as a suffering Servant, who takes upon Himself the burden of our iniquities in order to make us pleasing to God (first reading). Jesus, Son of God and High Priest, is capable of understanding our human condition (second reading). Jesus, Son of man, has come to serve and to lay down His life in ransom for many (Gospel).

2. These are three pieces of the same mosaic that help us to understand with just one glance why Jesus Christ is our only Saviour: namely, because He is, at the same time, Son of God and Son of man, because He has in Himself the fullness of life, of grace and of holiness from God, but He also has our own weakness, our own poverty, our own mortality. The three readings help us to understand why the vocation and the mission of Jesus pass through the passion and the cross: because it is only in this way that He can take upon Himself and redeem all our weaknesses, our fragilities as human beings, as sinners, as mortals.
The three readings help us to understand also why Jesus is in the state of understanding us and at the same time saving us. As Son of man He made Himself one with our human condition, He understands us from within by living our life; He knows what is toil, what is suffering, and what is fragility. At the same time, as Son of God He fills our humanity with His Spirit, with the grace and mercy of the Father, with that fullness of life and happiness that pertains only to God.

3. The Gospel then narrates to us what is the occasion from which the teaching of Jesus draws its origin: it is the fact that the Apostles did not completely understand the mentality of service and of the self-offering of their own lives, but rather manifested their ambition and their desire for greatness. Jesus therefore helps them to understand what it means to be great in the perspective of the Gospel, namely, to serve and give one’s life as a self-offering. When He speaks to His apostles, Jesus is speaking to us and is educating us; He is teaching us what it means to follow Him. If we want to follow Him, if we want to participate in His vocation and in His mission, we should also assume this mentality. We are also called to learn what it means to offer ourselves in the concrete situations of each and every day, and to be of service, to offer ourselves as a gift, to take part in the suffering and in the weaknesses of the most fragile and the poorest of people whom God places along our way. Jesus tells us in a clear way that we should learn to put the break on our ambitions and to refuse that a mentality of power takes over in our Christian communities.

4. Let us try to ask ourselves: how we can live such an attitude of humble and generous service that arrives to the point of making us offer our own life? How can we live out and sustain this position within our own families, in our workplace, in our parish? When we think of Jesus, we should keep in mind the image we have of Him when we see Him bow down to wash the feet of the disciples, and the image we have of Him when we see Him raised up on the Cross.
When we think about ourselves, we should keep in mind that we are truly great when we are capable of making ourselves small, that the greatest power is that of love which impels us to offer our own life, and that in the Christian perspective the greatest symbol of honour that we can receive is that of the apron of a servant.


Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land