Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Oct. 17, 2021

Reflection for Oct. 17, 2021

To serve, not to be served

Discipleship calls us to walk a different path

by Sister Agnes Fischer

How lonely Jesus was! Striding on ahead and the Twelve unsympathetic and self-seeking, lagging to squabble about pre-eminence.

To be fair to James and John, they must have been a bit confused by the whole situation. Jesus is telling the disciples to ask for things, and then when they do, they get told off and they go down through 2,000 years of history as being, selfish egotistical people. It all seems a bit harsh, really. They were merely doing what Jesus had said: Ask for things.

The truth is, most times when we pray and ask God for things, we are not being particularly arrogant or selfish or egotistical. We are merely expressing to God what we think we need or what we think would be helpful in a certain situation.

So, when we read Jesus’ words by way of response, he is not telling them off. Instead, he is being gentle with them and he is using this opportunity to teach them what is important in the Kingdom of God -- a lesson they needed to learn, and a lesson we need to be constantly reminded of.

That can be a tough lesson for us to learn, can’t it? Sometimes, we might have spent so long being faithful to God or might have spent so much time and energy on our ministry that we think, like James and John, that we deserve a bit of a reward from God. And then, when the reward doesn’t come, or when life gets tough for us, we might grow a little angry towards God. We might think, “For goodness sake, God, I have given so much for so long. I have put in so much effort, don’t I get something in return?” But as much as we might wish it to be otherwise that is not the way of Christian discipleship. It’s not how it works.

Jesus says, “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.”

Now this, of course, is a completely countercultural idea as much today as it was 2,000 years ago in Jesus’ time.

We must seek ways to serve others rather than trying to become an authority figure over them. That is the way of Christ. That is the way of Christian discipleship.

Life’s most urgent question is this: What am I doing for others?


Sister Sally Ann Brickner
10/15/2021 6:20 am

Sister Aggie, thank you for vividly describing the scenario of the Gospel and Jesus’ actions. To serve as Jesus did is the essence of the Gospel. You prompt me to consider how well I am doing that each day.

10/15/2021 6:37 am

Good words Aggie!

Millie Hayes
10/15/2021 8:54 am

You did it again sis. thanks

Irene Whatley
10/15/2021 12:17 pm

I enjoyed your reflection. I always thought it was arrogant to ask to be first and i try not to ask for things that are not important , such as sporting events

Fr. Bill Jacobs
10/18/2021 7:34 am

Thanks, Sister!

As I reflected on these Readings and your Reflection, I recalled a powerful saying, "Satan's biggest fear is for you or I to become everything that God created us to be..."

10/18/2021 12:17 pm

In response to Sr. Agnes 'most urgent question:' "What am I doing for others?"

I am making a sincere and serious attempt to become what one author describes as "a manifestation of a love that is so extreme that it dissolves existing boundaries,” and that it is such a "radically inclusive love that [by its very nature and essence-of-existence] it breaks down boundaries and barriers, [thereby freeing] us all to broader, more inclusive lives that are more fully lived and more fully experienced. "

As I know it, this is what Francis experienced in his encounter with the leper. And so began his conversion.

Today's "lepers" are of many kinds, and are thought of as such for many reasons. Most of these reasons have been birthed through generational ignorance and / or arrogance, including religious, spiritual, or what we might call theological ignorance / arrogance.

In my quest to become all that God wills me to become, I seek to help educate and advocate for just such a lived presence and community-global existence [experience-encounter] of this kind of radical, extreme, all-inclusive love.

Sr Rose Jochmann
10/19/2021 1:38 pm

Great reflection!

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