Mk 10:35-45 or 10:42-45



fr tam nguyen



One of my favorite childhood memories is our sharing among cousins about our ambitions. One said, his ambition was to be like his dad, working in an office, arms crossed behind the head and feet up on the table! He wanted to be boss immediately and without sweat!


The gospel reveals the apostles’ surprising act of jockeying for position. James and John aspire to become defense secretary and finance secretary in the cabinet of the Lord. it was a good thing Jesus did not explode in anger. Rather he calmly and patiently tutored his apostles on the real nature of his mission. He has come “to serve and not to be served and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


It is rare that all the Sunday readings agree exactly on a topic but today Isaiah speaks of the suffering Servant of God, and Hebrews describes Jesus our High Priest as suffering human weakness and temptations like the rest of us (but unlike us, without sinning). Our Lord suffered in order to accomplish his mission of giving his life in total service to the Father and to us.


Service is not a popular word these days. Since the pandemic, people want riches, success, position, and security. Service is heard in a gas station and in a massage parlor. And then of course, the only group of people who over-use the word service is that of politicians. They openly express their desire to serve, a promise that vanishes after the election. People are of course practical these days. How can you think of service when there is a career to pursue, a family to feed, bills to pay?


While there are people who truly feel the impulse to serve, the Lord Jesus reminds us that all of us must have the disposition to serve. Serve where you find yourself; where you are most needed; when you have the time and capacity to do so. And of course, serve in silence. Some people serve the poor but only because they are documented in their youtube channels –  a phenomenon called poverty porn. It is not easy to serve undetected, unappreciated, unacknowledged.


Our Lord Jesus served his Father’s plan. As disciples, we pledge to serve the Lord. Let us do so with love, kindness, patience, perseverance, and silence.