October 17, 2021
Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Readings for Today
Jesus summoned the twelve and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” Mark 10:42–44
This is certainly easier said than done. This passage reveals one serious temptation that those “who are recognized as rulers” may fall into. This is the temptation of an abuse of power and a lack of humble leadership.
For example, tradition states that at the heart of the fall of lucifer and the demons was a desire for power. “I will not serve” are the words attributed to lucifer. In other words, the desire for power and to be served by others was real and very powerful for these fallen angels. So it is with each one of us.
Though we may not be in a position of great power over others, we will most likely all struggle with the desire for power. This can happen in just about any context. Take, for example, a friendship. Very often when there is the slightest disagreement on something, we want our own way. We want to be in charge. Or take the example of home life. How many enter into family life with a desire to serve the others and to humbly submit to the others’ wills? This is hard to do. It’s much easier to want to be the boss and to dictate to others what is to happen in this or that situation.
In the passage above, Jesus makes it clear to His Apostles that when they exercise their “authority” over others they are not to make it “felt” by others. In other words, Jesus was not calling His Apostles to be leaders by brute force, intimidation, manipulation or by any other severe exercise of their authority. The authority that Jesus wanted was much different.
Christian authority is centered in love and humility. It’s a “leadership” that is lived in true humility. This leadership wins over hearts, minds and wills of others and invites them to follow in charity and love. This must happen within the family, among friends, at church and within society.
Reflect, today, upon how you lead others. Do you expect to be the “boss” and expect others to follow you because of your authority? Or do you lead others by humility and love drawing them to Christ through your goodness? Commit yourself to Christian leadership as Jesus intended and you will be amazed at the effect it has within your family, among friends and within the larger community.
Lord, help me to be a humble leader. Help me to let Your heart of love and mercy shine forth and to lead by the goodness and kindness of Your merciful heart. Help me to set aside all pride and egotism and to become a servant of all. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Not celebrated as a liturgical memorial this year since it falls on Sunday