Malvern Minute – Wednesday

March 15, 2017 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (20: 17-28)

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over 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 approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Reflect: Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. To be a servant or a slave implies that someone has power over us and orders us around. Jesus redefines that concept. He demonstrates with his own life that he came to serve; and living a life of service actually becomes a position of power. It dismantles those who seek to crush others and lifts up those determined to love without limits. Jesus’ obedience is to the Father – the source of love. Service to love becomes the great disrupter. The love of Jesus empowers the weak, the broken, the poor, the abandoned, the lost – to experience the love of God and to become all that God intended them to be. We are encouraged by the hope implied in that message. At the same time, it is scary. We can be like the Gentiles who lord their power over others – it feels comfortable and safe. Or we can be like Jesus who came not to be served but to serve; to ultimately give his life as a ransom for the rest of us. Let’s be great today by being servants, by giving our lives in service for all of those around us.

Questions: What do I fear by being a servant to others? What do I gain by imitating the love of Jesus who was the servant of all? What practical ways can I implement being a servant today?

Pray: Loving God, give me the heart of a servant who seeks to encourage others through hope and love; to affirm the dignity of those I encounter today; to lift up those who are broken and crushed. I ask this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Forsake me not, O Lord! My God, be not far from me! Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my strong salvation!

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ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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