Written by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
When I read in the gospel what Jesus has to say about the pride of the Scribes and Pharisees and how they twisted the teachings of Moses to build up their own importance, I thought of a story I read once:
A Texas rancher was talking to a Wisconsin dairy farmer about their lands, and the milkman told the cattleman that he operated his business on 125 acres. The Texan snickered at such a small piece of land and said, “That’s nothing. On my ranch I can get in my truck at sunrise and I won’t reach the fence line of my property until sunset.” The dairy farmer replied, “Yeah, I used to have a truck like that.”
These men, like the Pharisees, wanted others to think that they had something special. Now, Jesus wasn’t faulting the Pharisees for their zeal for God, but for their legalism. Jesus isn’t interested in how great we are, but how great others are as a result of our humble. loving service.
Jesus goes on to say if you want to be somebody, put others before yourself. Become great by becoming a servant. Service to others is rewarding when we put God first.
As many of you know, a group of us have just returned from Haiti. While we were there, we met with a group of wonderful young Catholic professional people in their early 20’s…one was a lawyer, another a nurse, another the principal of a school, etc., 8 in all. Despite many obstacles growing up in poverty, they have worked very hard for what they have achieved. They know they have had opportunities that others have not had and they have band together to provide services to children between the ages of 5-18 who live in dire, rural conditions.
Using what little money they have, they have organized a program whose goal is to help the most disadvantaged children, victims of extreme poverty and all forms of violence and exploitation. They want to develop health, educational, social, economic programs which will benefit these vulnerable children. Their slogan is: "Give wings to children." They are humble young adults who find greatness in service. I am happy to say that our Haiti Peace Program for youth will be partnering with them.
We all have something to offer and can serve someone in our lives.
What opportunities are presented to us each day to serve someone in need?
Jesus humbly put us before Himself. He served us by his life, suffering, and death and we, his followers, are called to be humble servants to others each day.
How, during this Lent, are each of us answering Jesus’ call to loving service, especially to the poor?
“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”