Servant of all

By Abbot Owen Purcell

Time and time again when we hear the Gospels or read them privately we get real episodes that show the downright humanity of the Apostles. Aspects of humanity that we did not expect perhaps. They were the closest followers of Jesus. He called each one of them. The impulsive humanity of Peter and the doubting of Thomas come to mind.

In the Gospel for today we see the group arguing among themselves which one was the greatest? They had a nose for power and wealth that might be theirs if Jesus led a rebellion against the Romans. What we know is that Jesus sniffed them out. Jesus, being both God and a man, knew human nature better than any human being.

We see in the reply of Jesus just who really counts in His Kingdom. Listen again to Jesus, “If anyone wishes to be first they shall be last and the servant of all.” Who then is the greatest? The one who is the greatest servant. It is the person who dies to selfishness. The one who is willing to wash the feet of the sister or brother. The one who seems last shall be first.”

Owen Purcell is past Abbot of St. Benedict’s Abbey and pastor of St. Mary’s in St. Benedict, Kan. His homilies, brief and poignant, can all be found here.

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