Gospel Reflection for September 23, 2018, 25th Sunday Ordinary Time
Sunday Readings: Wisdom 2.12,17-20; James 3.16–4.3; Mark 9.30-37
“Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and the servant of all.” – Mark 9.32
Jesus’ disciples aren’t catching on to his words about the Son of Man being betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him and three days after being killed, he will rise again. We Christians 2,000 years later know how Jesus’ story turns out so count Jesus as having divine foreknowledge and the disciples missing the trending conflicts with other teachers. But Jesus doesn’t need divine foreknowledge to anticipate growing opposition as his reputation for care and healing spreads. Israel’s scriptures contain numerous examples of what happens to prophets who speak out for people who are poor and need care. The disciples have more banal topics to engage them; in this care, who is greatest? Whoever wants to be top must be the servant of all. Perhaps this is a cure for clericalism.
So a servant leader must listen to all, must seek to understand where others come from, work for the good of all, their education and health, praise all specifically for the gifts they contribute to the enterprise, respect all, even his or her opponents or slackers, refuse special privileges.
What qualities make servant leader in your experience?