We Serve The LORD or Ourselves?

Weekly Missionary Reflection
25th Week in Ordinary Time, 19 September 2021

Wis. 2:12,17-20; Ps. 54:3-4,5,6,8; Jam. 3:16 – 4:3; Mark 9:30-37

After the unsatisfying mid-test result, “the intensive course” about cross was begun. This lesson happened during the journey to Jerusalem, the place of His passion and resurrection. The disciples learned about “the way of Lord’s cross” while having the journey together with Him. Once again Jesus summarized the essence of His teachings: in Jerusalem, the Son of Man must suffer and be killed, but will be glorified by God (v. 31; cf. Mark 8:31). Had the disciples started to understand? Not at all!

First, they didn’t understand what Jesus said, but they were not dare to ask (v. 32). This is the example of an apathetic disciple who doesn’t want to learn. But above that, they were the kind of disciples trapped in their own point of view. They had a fixed and standard concept about Messiah as a victorious King, who won and defeated the Romans, and formed an independent state. Of course, they expected to be the government staffs and upper echelons. Therefore, whatever the Teacher said, they just listened without having to believe or carry out! They were also worried of being rebuked like Peter before! Therefore they chose to be silent. Not a golden silence!

Second, they argued about who was the greatest among them (v. 34). A sharp irony! They had been walking with Jesus to Jerusalem, listening to His teachings about cross and resurrection, but they still argued about the rank and position. On “the way of the cross” they were even busy talking about position. To be a master, called “your highness” is everyone’s dream of all the time. Often it is not seen and spoken. Secretly, the ambition for position and “to be important” is rooted deeply in ourselves. When asked, we will be like those disciples, just keep silent, will not admit it. But in reality, the ambition is implied in our behavior, even behind those ‘noble’ activities, such as: serving, preaching, etc.

Third, facing with such “pandemic of ambition”, Jesus emphasized about service. Essence of Jesus’ question remains relevant: Whom do you and I serve? We serve our own ambition or serve God and His mission? Jesus offers (v. 35) a new and radical way of life, which is different from the context of His time (in the time of Roman-Greek and Jews) that praised and showed off social ranking. All His disciples and Church have to be different: choose the last position, and compete to be a servant! Of course this is not easy! Therefore, Jesus illustrates His teachings with a sign action: He put a child among them. The child could be a teenager working as the servant in that house. At his age, he could not have power and be uncounted. From the point of social position: he only served his master in the house. Therefore, Jesus embraced him. Why? Because that child played a role which was the essence of Jesus’ ministry: serving human beings. The child also symbolized a true disciple’s ministry: just serving people, while stifling the ambition for social rank and position!

(Hortensius Mandaru – Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia Jakarta)


Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Eco-friendly life style: Let us pray to be encouraged to make brave decision for eco-friendly and simple life style, to rejoice with the young people who are boldly committed to this. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Those depressed by economic problems: May those depressed by economic problems be able to find new business that can be a new source of income. We pray…

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
Please direct our life history to as the life history of St. Joseph whom You have guided to unite with his ancestors, as told in the Bible. We pray…

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