The readings for today both use the word “should.” Older men should be temperate. Older women should be reverent in their behavior. Jesus tells the apostles that they should have the attitude of a servant. What does that attitude look like? Are we supposed to act like butlers and maids? Does Jesus speak about servanthood as it is reflected in modern entertainment examples such as “Downton Abbey,” or “Upstairs, Downstairs?”
We are told in the Scriptures that we have been made in the image and likeness of God. So I think that we can put aside the modern interpretations of servanthood and look for something a little more meaningful. Perhaps a better way to envision servanthood would be to look at the use of a mirror. Mirrors, by their very nature, are compelled to reflect the light that is directed at them. Physical science demands it. So we, made in the image and likeness of God, are obliged to reflect God’s image of sacrificial service.
The Gospel asks us to view ourselves as unprofitable servants. Once again, we have to remember that we are, by virtue of our baptism, invested with a dignity that is bestowed on us by God. So while our deeds might be classified as “unprofitable,” we are not to look upon ourselves as worthless.
Christian discipleship means having an attitude of a servant in all that we do while framing it in humility. Thus, one day, may we say, upon being welcomed into the heavenly kingdom: “We have done what we were obliged to do!”
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator