“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45
Servant leadership is our meditation of the day… the calling we each have to play a lead role in responding to God’s presence in the world by imitating Christ himself: alleviating suffering, building up our Church, and honoring the gifts of natural and human life that surround us. These are all ways to serve and lead as faithful followers of God’s Word… and all ways we can live our baptismal call to mission.
Think of servant leadership as an opportunity to express the fullness of our lives in Christ by using our unique gifts. With today’s Gospel in mind, I am inspired by some of the greatest examples of servant leadership in our Church. St. Oscar Romero, the Bishop of El Salvador, is one, a man who ultimately died for preaching the social Gospel of caring for the poor. Not only did St. Oscar lead his flock with complete trust in God but he preached with courage as well as humility.
I also think of St. Pope John Paul II who even in personal tragedy and illness continued to practice love of neighbor and forgiveness. And in our own Maryknoll family, I am inspired by the ministry of Servant of God Father Vincent Capodanno, M.M. Father Vincent chose to become a military chaplain so he could serve in Vietnam. Caring for his men under fire, this servant leader was killed. Today he is under consideration for sainthood.
These are extraordinary examples of servant leadership. But I am sure you know many lives that are sainted in their own way whether long- or short-lived. What’s important to remember is that our personal calling to serve others is a unique calling from God. How we choose to respond is up to us. We could say like the apostles, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” Or we can understand that following Christ will mean accepting equally all blessings—and all challenges—and that greatness in the eyes of God is measured by how generously we serve one another.
Friend, you have the potential to be a servant leader who is an inspiration to others. Serve with compassion, lead with complete dependence on our Creator. As St. Oscar Romero once said: “Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God.” I know that describes you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Lance Nadeau, M.M.
Prayer for 3rd Sunday
On the night before you died, Lord Jesus,
You washed the feet of Your disciples and commanded
us to follow Your example and wash one another’s feet
showing us the world’s greatest leaders are those
who offer humble service.
Let no task be too small or lowly
for me that I fail to perform it out of love for you.
Your life is Your greatest lesson in humility.
I am never closer to You, Lord,
then when I kneel to speak to the small,
the lowly and the meek of this world.
For in drawing closer to these little ones
I am in fact drawing closer to You, Jesus.
You Who reigned from the cross,
help me accept setbacks and failures
as Your way to purify my heart
and make room for Your love and grace
that these, in turn, might lift me up
to those heavenly heights where
You live and reign with the Father and
Holy Spirit, God forever and ever.
Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.