REFLECTION FOR TODAY
August 21, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matt. 23:11-12
Through humility, we are absorbed in God who exalts us in his loving power. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day made many additional commandments to what Moses handed down. They made these commandments difficult for other while they never obeyed them. As religious leaders they had become puffed up in their roles.
Jesus addressed this attitude of the leaders of his time in our gospel reference today emphasizing the call to humility and servant leadership as he noted that loving service should be at the heart of God’s law rather than outward observance and appearances.
Greatness is found in servanthood. Exaltation is enjoyed only through humility. Is the ideal lifestyle one that is filled with indulgence, entertainment, luxury, and the like? Certainly not. The ideal life, the greatest life, the most exalted life is the life of the most humble service of others as possible. That’s essentially what Jesus tells us in the reference above. Do you believe that?
Jesus used the words “greatest” and “must” in the same sentence. These two words are both quite definitive. There is no one greater than the “greatest,” and the path to that greatness requires, without exception, that the greatest be a servant of everyone else. In many ways, this truth defies most human conceptions of greatness.
Most often, if someone is considered “great,” then they are served and treated with an honor and respect not given to most. Jesus was, without question, the humblest person to ever live. Only His mother shared perfectly in this holy virtue. Humility enables a person to break out of every selfish tendency and turn their love to the good of the other. The self-giving service our Lord offered every day was a fruit of the incredible humility that He lived. Jesus did everything He did out of His love for others and with humility to bring salvation and transformation to their eternal souls.
In our lives, we need to make a fundamental choice. Am I going to live for myself? Or am I going to live for others? It appears very few people live fully for others. It is difficult to take our eyes off ourselves and turn them only to the good of others. But if we realize that living for others is also the path to our own greatness and ultimate exaltation, then it becomes much easier. Serving others, especially in a spiritual way by which you do all you can to help them grow closer to God, is what will make you great. Nothing else can do so. Believe that and live it.
Reflect, today, upon a life of true greatness. Reflect, especially, upon how you can live such a life. How can you more completely serve others? How can you make their holiness your primary goal? How can you help others grow in their love of God? Humble yourself and turn your eyes from yourself to others. Doing so will make an eternal difference for others and for yourself.
Lord, You are exalted far above all others. You are Greatness Itself. The life You lived, dear Lord, was one of the greatest humility. But it was in this humility that You accomplished the salvation of the world. Help me to imitate Your greatness by making the service of others my most central mission in life. I love you, my Lord. May I love and serve others with You. Jesus, I trust in You.