“Come, let us strike him.”
A reading from the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18: 18-20)
They said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not heed any of his words.” Give heed to me, O Lord, and listen to my plea. Is evil a recompense for good? Yet they have dug a pit for my life. Remember how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them.
The word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 31:5-6, 14.15-16 (R/. see17b)
R/. Save me, O Lord, in your merciful love
Release me from the snare they have hidden,
for you indeed are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
You will redeem me, O Lord, O faithful God. R/.
I have heard the slander of the crowd;
terror all around me,
as they plot together against me,
as they plan to take my life. R/.
R/. Save me, O Lord, in your merciful love.
But as for me, I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.
My lot is in your hands,
deliver me from the hands of my enemies
and those who pursue me.” R/.
VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL John 8:12
Glory and praise to you, O Christ. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; he who follows me will have the light of life. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
“They will condemn him to death.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 20: 17-28)
At that time: As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the chalice that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my chalice, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the Ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The Gospel of the Lord
The shortest road to greatness is service and this is a secret many people do not know. We all want to get ahead in life but we fail to realise that going higher does not happen by bringing people down but bringing oneself down before others. If indeed respect begets respect, then service begets promotion.
By serving others, we may not make as much money as we would want, but we make something far more valuable than money. If Joseph had not being a slave, there was no way he would have functioned well as a Prime Minister. Life’s greatest lessons are not taught in the comfort of our classroom desks but in tears, sweat and blood. No wonder Denzel Washington said: “Ease is a greater threat to progress than adversity.” If it was easy, there would be no stars in this world. God himself who created us did not make life easy not because he likes stress but because he knows that if we are not stressed, the gifts and talents he deposited in us for the continued development of this world will not shine out.
Do not think you are doing your children a favour when you employ housemaids and houseboys to do all the work in the house while your kids simply eat, sleep and play. You are deforming your children, taking away their opportunity for creativity and personal development. As Fr. George Ehusani puts it: “If because of your suffering, you became wise, your attempt to prevent your children from suffering will make them fools.”
There is more honour in being a servant than in being served by others. If Jesus Christ, our Lord and God could afford to come to this world to serve mankind, why should I be ashamed of serving others?