One of the most difficult practices of being a Christian is learning to serve others. The concept itself is not difficult to understand, but putting it into action is tricky. Overcoming the “inertia” of our fallen nature is not easy. We all desire to feel good. Those of us who are parents can relate to waking up in the night to comfort a crying infant. I don’t know of too many times that I can say I “enjoyed” it. I did it out of love for my children and my wife, but I would have enjoyed undisturbed sleep a lot more!
In today’s Gospel reading (Mk 9:30-37), Jesus instructs His disciples about the importance of becoming a servant with the words, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Our Lord provided us with the greatest example of being a servant. Everything He did was an act of service. Becoming a man and dying on a cross was not the “easy way out”. He didn’t do it for Himself, but rather for you and me. Because of His agonizing sacrifice on the cross, the gates of Heaven have now been opened for all mankind.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. It is a time for examining our lives and discovering areas that need improvement. Are we really being the servants that our faith requires us to be? Is there anything else that we can do to make life more pleasant for those around us? Maybe remaining silent even when we “know we’re right”, doing some extra household chores to help our spouse, being pleasant when we feel miserable, helping out an elderly neighbor even though we’re tired, etc.
I’m not going to try and say that it’s easy to serve others, becomes sometimes it really isn’t. One thing I will say is that it gets easier if we ask for God’s help. Today’s responsorial psalm (Ps 37) provides us with an inspirational message that reminds us that we are not in this alone.
“Commit your life to the Lord, and He will help you.”
Over the course of the next seven weeks, why not try to make a greater commitment to The Lord? Seek out areas where you could become a better servant to others. If it gets difficult, reread the above Scripture quote and above all…
Don’t forget to ask Him for help!