Who do you refuse to serve?
the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
- Matthew 20:28
In today's Gospel, Jesus reveals an important truth about who he is: Servant. And if we want to be like Jesus, if we want to be with Jesus, we need to stop seeking glory, power and importance. Jesus tells us many times that those who humble themselves will be exalted, that we must beome like little children to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Here he tells us that he also humbles himself. He is a ruler who doesn't "lord it over" his subjects. He takes up the cup of powerlessness and sacrifice and asks all of use to do the same.
At some point or another, most of us have probably heard these words and made a silent promise to try and serve more - to give back to the community, to serve our spouses, families, and friends, and to be a little bit more humble. But what doesn't make it onto the list? Who is a part of our world that we refuse to serve through our own rationalizations? Can we act in service to some while refusing to serve others, and think that we are drinking from the cup Jesus takes up?
In his General Audience today, Pope Francis spoke about how we treat the elderly. Because our society values efficiency, profit and youth, he said, we toss aside aging people. Because of its values, our secular society rationalizes that service to the elderly would come at the expense of service to the most productive (who are more highly valued). As Christians, we too use our values to refuse service to certain people. Perhaps we refuse service to beggars on the street by rationalizing that any money given would be poorly used. Perhaps we refuse service to people who believe have sinned because we think it might be a scandal. Perhaps we refuse service to someone we resent because we think we are justified in our resentment.
To whom do you refuse service? To whom are you too proud to subordinate yourself? Who could you never count yourself beneath?
I suspect that until we can count ourselves beneath that person or persons, we will not see the Kingdom of Heaven.