The CEO in Jesus’ Kingdom

George Bernard Shaw, the famous author, was once asked in what generation he would have preferred to live. The witty Irishman replied: "The age of Napoleon, because then there was only one man who thought he was Napoleon." What James and John are asking for is nothing less than the power to command the army of Israel. Rabbis and scholars at the time taught that the Messiah when he came would be the new David, King of Israel. He would rule with a mighty sword and vanquish all of Israel's enemies. The disciples were under the same impression.

Serve Jesus, time and again, reminded the disciples of the cost of discipleship but they still did not seem to understand his call. They could not accept the challenge of sacrifice that the following of Jesus demanded. James and John approached Jesus with a request that they be given top places in his kingdom. We see how far the apostles were from the spirit of sacrifice. Obviously they thought that his kingdom would be modelled on worldly kingdoms, where those in high places enjoy honor, power and glory.

When the other ten disciples heard of the request of James and John they were indignant because they also had similar dreams of getting the best places in the kingdom. Jesus tells them that his disciples are not to imitate the Gentiles, whose rulers lord it over the people. In his kingdom, service is what makes one great. “Anyone wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all.” He would set the example himself. He came not to be served but to serve, and to give himself as a ransom for many.

According to Jesus, greatness consists not in what we have, nor in what we can get from others but in what we give to others.  The CEO in Jesus’ kingdom is the one who serves the needs of all the others.  Jesus thus overturns all our values, teaching us that true greatness consists in loving, humble, and sacrificial service. He has identified authority with selfless service and loving sacrifice.  For Jesus, true service means putting our gifts at the disposal of others.  Service is sacrifice:  extending a helping hand toward those in need translates love into meaningful deeds.  Jesus does not promise us a jolly good time if we follow him but a meaningful life!

We pray that this weekend liturgy bring us grace to be a CEO in Jesus’ Kingdom!

In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church