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Authority

7th Tuesday OT 2019

In the Gospel today, the Twelve are debating who amongst them is the greatest; again, it’s as if they don’t understand what Christ is all about. So, Christ explains himself to the Twelve; he uses this opportunity to teach his disciples about how authority should be exercised in his Church—not by lording it over others, but by serving them. In fulfilling his own mission to found the Church whose head and supreme lawgiver he is, he came to serve and not to be served (Mt 20:28).

Anyone who does not strive to have this attitude of self-forgetful service, not only lacks one of the main pre-requisites for proper exercise of authority but also runs the risk of being motivated by ambition or pride. “To be in charge of an apostolic undertaking demands readiness to suffer everything, from everybody, with infinite charity” (St Josemaría Escrivá, The Way, 951).

To demonstrate to his apostles the abnegation and humility needed in their ministry, he takes a child into his arms and explains the meaning of this gesture: if we receive for Christ’s sake those who have little importance in the world’s eyes, it is as if we are embracing Christ himself and the Father who sent him. This little child whom Jesus embraces represents every child in the world, and everyone who is needy, helpless, poor or sick—people who are not naturally attractive.

My brothers and sisters, let’s go and do likewise.

Published inScriptural Reflections