“The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mt 23:11-12)
Muhammad Ali pretty well coined the phrase for my generation when he gave his famous “I am the greatest” speech. He declared that fact rather proudly. And to many, he, indeed, was the greatest boxer that they had ever seen. They probably felt that they would never see anyone greater.
We all want to be great. I do not ever recall anyone coming up to me and saying, “All I want to be is mediocre.” “All I want is a D- on my test.” All I want is to barely be noticed.”
Most people want to excel. They want to be noticed — in a good way — for their achievements and accomplishments. They want to be the best at what they do.
Jesus spoke about this in today’s gospel. He spoke to a people that constantly vied to be noticed. Jesus indicated that so many of the “greats” of His time had lost the way. That was why He instructed the crowds to listen to what their teachers of the faith had to say but not to follow their example. Those great teachers were doing what they did for their own benefit and not for the benefit of all.
Jesus taught His followers that if they wanted to be great, they had to excel in service, in humility, in meekness, in forgiveness, in love. Those are attributes that many saw as being weak.
Therein lies the beauty and mystery of Jesus’ life. In weakness, there is great strength. That should give us great hope in our own weak, frail nature.
FAITH ACTION: Ask the Lord to help you to be the best servant as you go through your day today.