Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent, March 2
True Discipleship Requires That We Become Christ-like in the Unselfish Service and Self-Sacrificing Love We Show Towards Others, for We Must Become the Extension of Christ to All Those Whom God Places in Our Midst.
We read today, “The greatest among you must be your servant.”
When one truly thinks about our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel, we might come to the realization that we find ourselves, at times, lacking in the way we are of service to the needs of others, of showing a true selfLESS love to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially to those who may be less fortunate than ourselves.
And then our Lord adds, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
A few years ago, I remember observing a homeless woman sitting outside a food market. The day was chilly, and she was not well dressed for the conditions of the weather. For the time that I was there, there were dozens of people who would enter or leave the market ignoring this poor woman who was right in front of them. In time, only one would offer her something warm to eat or drink.
One might question why so many people would treat her as someone “invisible” and ignore her plight. In ministry, I have worked with the homeless in the past, and many feel that people turn away from them because they do not wish to be reminded of the needs of the less fortunate. So if they purposely do not notice the homeless in their midst, they become “invisible”, and their presence becomes an issue which others do not have to think about or respond to.
And yet, what did Christ say today? “The greatest among you must be your servant.”
Each one of us, no matter what our place or status in life may be, is called upon to be a servant to one another, servants to the Body of Christ. And the Body of Christ is each and every one of us, both you and me, for we, as a faithful people, and even the unfaithful – those who choose to disregard their faith – are all children of the same God. And by virtue of our Baptism, each of us shares in the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ as priest, prophet and king.
We are each called to imitate Christ in the way we live our lives in the unselfish service and self-sacrificing love which we are to give to each and every one of our brothers and sisters.
Jesus, by His very life and the many examples which He showed us, taught us of the infinite value of humility and service to others out of Christian love. And the one example of humility and service which stands out in my mind is when our Lord washed the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper.
The Eternal Word made flesh, the Only-Begotten Son of the Eternal and Heavenly Father, the “King of kings and Lord of lords” – wrapped a towel around His waist, knelt down in front of each Apostle and washed and dried his feet. And when finished, Jesus said, “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
How many times do we look at society and become witnesses of physical and emotional abuse to the less fortunate. Sometimes, the abuse is a result of self-centeredness where we choose self rather that other; but abuse also comes from what is not done. When one chooses to close a blind eye, when one chooses to close a deaf ear to the needs of those who are less fortunate, the abuse is just as real!
The plight of the homeless on street corners being ignored, the difficulty of the sick and disabled struggling to live in a society which, oftentimes, does not wish to be reminded of the needs of the less fortunate, those who are dying from sickness, starvation, or just plain loneliness – all of these people are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are examples of the truly humbled; they are truly examples of the Suffering Christ in our midst.
And God will not turn His back on them, for he has a special place in His Heart for the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged. And when we, as a Christian people, reach out to them with selfless love and a willingness to assist them in their needs, then God will remember His promise which we hear in today’s Gospel, “…whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
C.S. Lewis, a renowned 20th century novelist and a famous convert to Christianity, once wrote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Being a child of God is realizing that each and every one of us is of immense value in the eyes of God, and that He continues His work of salvation through us.
For we are all members of God’s Church – rich, poor, privileged and the less fortunate. And to serve the needs of God’s Church requires that we look within ourselves and find the very Spirit of the merciful and compassionate Christ within us. True service to others, true discipleship requires that we become the humble and servant Christ, so that others may feel and experience His Loving Presence within us.
In our First Reading today, we hear the voice of God speaking through His prophet Isaiah, “…cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”
Doing what is right, truly embracing the virtue of justice for all those who are less fortunate becomes a corporal work of mercy. And we are taught that the different corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, sheltering the homeless, and burying the dead.
We are each called to be a Christian people; we are called as children of God to selflessly love each of our brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter what their race, nationality, political beliefs or religious persuasion may be.
If we are to foster and truly live our relationship with Jesus Christ, then we must become His extension to all those whom God places in our midst.
“The greatest among you must be your servant.”
Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues, because it enables us to see the way God sees. Humility helps us to be teachable, for it enables us to always be opened to God’s Wisdom. Humility enables us to empty from ourselves any sense of self-ambition and to give of ourselves without expectation. Humility frees us to love and serve others selflessly, for their sake, rather than our own.
And Saint Paul gives us the greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, as he writes in his Letter to the Philippians, “Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.”
As we travel along the desert road of our Lenten journey, may the discipleship and the life of faith which you and I embrace be transformed by our desire to truly live our baptismal promises, together with our call to repentance, obedience to God’s Commandments, a true fidelity to prayer, and the selfless giving of ourselves – for this is what it truly means to be Christ-like in our daily walk of faith.
For we are each called to remember always the words of our Lord, “…learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “The greatest among you must be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)
- “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)
- “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:14-15)
- “[Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
- “…cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16c-17)
- “You listen, LORD, to the needs of the poor; you strengthen their heart and incline your ear. You win justice for the orphaned and oppressed.” (Psalm 10:17-18a)
- “Pride goes before disaster and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be humble with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:18-19)
- “And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: ‘God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5bc)
- “…learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Matthew 11:29bc)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
“For it is in giving that we receive;Saint Francis of Assisi
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”