In the Gospel from Mark on Sunday, we heard the disciples arguing amongst themselves about who was the greatest. Jesus asked them what they were talking about and when he heard, he was very clear in responding to them:
“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Today in Havana, with the image of communist revolutionary Che Guevara looking over the same square, Pope Francis reinforced that same point during his homily.
Perhaps as we enter this week of prayers and pilgrimage with Pope Francis, we can ask God to help us find ways to serve others, to not seek greatness, and to become more humble servants of God. What ways can we explore changing our own lives in order to become “men and women for others.”
That saying, “men and women for others” is an Ignatian motto, and part of Pope Francis’ Jesuit spirituality. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., who was the Superior General of the Jesuits offered these thoughts in 1973:
“Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ – for the God-man who lived and died for all the world; men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.”
Imagine how these words might have sounded to a young Jorge Maria Begoglio, S.J., ordained only for only 4 years when they were spoken. Imagine how these words might still reverberate in the heart of our pope, who is surely a man for others.
That may be fine for him, but what about you and me? To live in service is very difficult, but if we pray for ourselves and for others, we may all find it a little easier. And if not easier, we will know that we are a community of believers here at St. Edward the Confessor, trying to serve one another in love and prayer – no matter how difficult it may be. And as we pray, we must also act, living in imitation of Christ.
Can we commit to do this today? For ourselves? For others? For God?
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