The last shall be first, and the first shall be last


Jesus tells us in today’s gospel what a good leader looks like-himself.  Mark 10:32-45 We set the scene.  Jesus tells his disciples what will happen soon-he will be beaten, humiliated, and crucified, then he will rise to the Father.  James and John want to be on his right and left when they come to the kingdom, and by their demeanor, they’re certain they have the inside track. Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” “To drink the cup” means to accept the destiny God has assigned.

They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; ” [Jesus’ baptism he’s referring to is his crucifixion and death) “but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” The request of James and John for a share in the glory (Mark 10:35-37) must of necessity involve a share in Jesus’ sufferings, the endurance of tribulation and suffering for the gospel (Mark 10:39). The authority of assigning places of honor in the kingdom is reserved to God (Mark 10:40).

Then Jesus tells his disciples, who are rightfully indignant at James and John, that “it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”

I see good humble leaders in the Catholic Church.  I see bishops who constantly minister to the poor and the suffering, especially now with the priest sex abuse scandal.  I see lay ministers who ask for nothing but the privilege of preaching the Word to the people with fire and enthusiasm.  I see people who only want to see the fruits of their work, not seeking recognition for what they do.

Jesus washed the feet of his apostles before the Last Supper, showing us how to be humble.  And in this scripture lesson, he tells us “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” and shows us what love is…Sacrifice.

I didn’t vote for our president.  I don’t like him, and I don’t hate him.  I pray for him often.  I think he could learn a lesson (as could all of us) from this scripture.  Becoming humble even when you’re the most powerful man on earth…Recognizing when you’re wrong and don’t have the answers, not mocking others who think they have a better idea.

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One thought on “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last

  1. I cannot say it, and be the first one to have been given a voice, or the last, to give in silence.

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