Embodying Service As A Leader

– Tuesday 7th Week in Ordinary Time –

“Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant to all.”  [Mark 9:35]

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus does not ever proclaim himself as Messiah.  It is little wonder then that when Jesus overhears the debate among his disciples as to who will be the greatest, he puts to bed this misguided notion once and for all with the words: ‘whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all’

For Jesus, self-aggrandizement is not a trait of greatness; rather, greatness is characterized by humility and servanthood.  The effective leader is one for whom the good of the ‘other’ is always the prime focus.  In his remarkable apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis writes: ‘Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves (my parenthesis) to seek the good of others’.

Going forth from ourselves to seek the good of others! Such a beautiful encapsulation of the whole Gospel message.

St Paul writes to the Philippians: ‘Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus who did not count equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself…’  (Phil 2:5-7) By example then, Jesus shows us what true servant leadership is all about.

Let us, then, be one in mind and heart with Jesus as, tomorrow, we begin this sacred time of Lent.  Let us not be the first, but in humility let us be the servant to all, for it is in this that true greatness is found.


by Gerry Crooks

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