Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:25-28)
Today’s Gospel is the tail end of an argument among the apostles. The mother of James and John (we celebrate the feast of St. James today) had just come up to Jesus and asked Him to ensure her that her two sons would sit on His right and His left when He entered the Kingdom of which He always spoke.
In other words, she wanted to make sure that James and John would be the two most important people in the Lord’s Kingdom. The right and left were always reserved as the highest places of honor.
The other apostles were indignant when they heard this request, not because it was inappropriate; but, because it beat them to the punch. They, too, presumably, had been thinking about how they could become the “right hand man” of the Lord.
Jesus does not want us competing with one another about who will be more important, more powerful, more influential.
He wants us to compete with one another about who can be the best servant.
“Lording authority over others” is really overrated. All it does is get others upset with us.
Serving others simply and humbly — that’s the ticket to happiness in this life and our entry ticket to eternal life.
FAITH ACTION: Make it a point to be of service to someone today.