Daily Reflection
March 1st, 2000
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

1 Peter 1:18-25
Psalms 147:12-15, 19-20
Mark 10:32-45

Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest. Mark 10:43
The Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve -- to give his life in ransom for the many.  Mark 10:45

I used to be fairly surprised by the first disciples of Jesus.  He's telling them that they are on the "road to Jerusalem" and that he will be arrested and put to death there, but after that would be raised from the dead.  Instead of showing him some compassion or dealing with what this means for him and for them, they are arguing among themselves about who among them is the greatest.  They are seeking power advantage over one another, and asking him to help them in their maneuvering. 

I'm not so hard on those first guys anymore.  Over the years, I have humbly discovered many of these same patterns in me - in many of us who are his disciples now.  Jesus' message to them works very powerfully for us today.  His servant-journey to Jerusalem continues to have a life-changing meaning for us.

How transformed would our lives be if we were really would see our whole meaning and purpose as that of being "servants"?    If each of us chose to wake up each morning and say, "I am at your service today, Lord, and a servant of all whom you call me to serve today," how different would our everyday worlds, our communities, the ministry of our churches be? 

Too often, too much of our day is a battle for self-recognition, self-advancement, self-needs.  Too often, when we ask ourselves "how did I do today?" the answers are in terms of "successes" and "failures" in quite "worldly" terms.    And far too often, "being religious" or "dedicated" or "committed" means being "better" than someone else.  Jesus confronts the meaning we give to our lives by these tendencies in us.  Jesus reminds us that if we were baptized into him, we were baptized into the pattern of his journey to give his life away in service.  We are servants of this same mission.

So, what does this mean concretely, today?  I can examine myself today on how much of my spirituality leads me to thoughts of "superiority" over others and how much leads me to thoughts of how I can place myself at the service of those most in need.  I can examine what I put my energy into today - another way of identifying my actual desires.  I can ask for the desire to be less absorbed with success, winning, advantage, profit.  I can think of concrete people in my family, in my day, and ask for the grace to love them as I am loved by Jesus - putting them and their needs before my needs.  As I go to church and celebrate God's love this week, I can ask how I might be called to better place my gifts at the service of this community.  Whenever I listen to the news, and hear the needs of those in my own city, my country and the world, I can examine how I can serve them better.  When I think of whom to vote for, whom to support by my contributions, whom to support for advancement in a variety of ways, I can ask whether my choice gives advantage to me and my interests or serves the common good, the greater good.

In the end, the first disciples of Jesus got it right.  Inspired by his own Spirit among them, they gave the rest of their lives in service of his mission.  We can too.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Online Ministries
Home Page
for Sunday
Online Retreat
Daily Readings Texts
from the
New American Bible
Daily Readings Texts
from the
RSV Bible
Spirituality Links
Saint of the Day
Collaborative Ministry Office 
Home Page
University Ministry
Home Page
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook