Wednesday 8 March 2023
St John of God
Jeremiah 18:18-20. Save me, O Lord, in your steadfast love – Psalm 30(31):5-6, 14-16. Matthew 20:17-28.
The measure of true discipleship
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us the lesson of service and humility. James and John’s mother wants her sons to be successful, validated by Jesus, at the top of the table in a place of honour and visibility. To be seen thus was to secure public approbation. However, Jesus turns the table on the honour and shame system that kept people in their places in first century Palestine and suggested that true leadership was to serve others.
True discipleship was not about being the first but being the last. Jesus, with his countercultural outlook that challenged the strictures and prohibitions of the orthodoxy, suggests that those who serve become slaves or servants to others. However, at this time to become a slave, while it meant unquestioning obedience to one’s master, also meant that they became part of the household, almost a member of the family. If we, too, become servants, less concerned with status and success, we honour God as we work and care for others.