Who is the Greatest?

Matthew 20: 17-28
Jer 18: 18-20/ Ps 31: 5-6, 14-16

Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.
(Matthew 20:26)

When we serve for our salvation
Don’t put your seat above the rest;
To be meek in our intention,
Is to be sure we serve Him best.

Jesus and His apostles were on the way to Jerusalem, where He would soon fulfill His mission, when He said to them, “Behold, we are going to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, who 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 James and John, sons of Zebedee, came up to Him for a favor. “What is it you want,” Jesus asked. In reply, she said, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one at Your right and one at Your left, when You are in Your kingdom.” But Jesus told them, “You do not know what you are asking for. Can you drink the cup that I will drink?” The brothers replied, “We can.” Jesus told them, “The cup that I will drink you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right or left is not mine to grant; they belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” When the other apostles heard it, they were angry 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. 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.” (Matthew 20:17-28)


Victor Frankl, a prisoner and survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, observed that the prisoners who were most helpful to others were the ones who persevered, and sustained their strength and sanity till the end of their captivity. There is something about serving others that gives meaning to the saying that “the more you give, the more you will receive.” Men and women of power, prestige and status never reached their golden years of fulfillment like Mother Teresa or Pope John Paul II did.

A community sister told us a story about a lady psychologist and accomplished ballet dancer that she met, whom we will call Cherry. At the peak of her career, she contracted a rare skin disease and ovarian cancer. When her doctor told Cherry that she had only two years left to live, she decided to spend the rest of her life helping the least of God’s children. She took into her care children of the poor who were lame, paralyzed, handicapped, malnourished, or retarded. She taught them how to play the piano, read, do housework, and helped them financially with their studies, giving them hope and dignity. Cherry dedicated the remainder of her life to serving the poor, giving them a better chance in life, and in return her life was extended for another fifteen years. She gave up her life for Jesus, but in the process she gained it back, for as our Lord said, “whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Mt. 10:39)

Lord, make me a servant of Your kingdom, because it is in seeking to serve You through others that I can be great in Your Father’s eyes. AMEN.

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