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Liturgical day: Sunday 27th (C) in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Lc 17,5-10): The apostles said to the Lord, «Increase our faith». And the Lord said, «If you have faith even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree: ‘Be uprooted and plant yourself in the sea’, and it will obey you.

»Who among you would say to your servant coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep: ‘Come at once and sit down at table?’. No, you tell him: ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink; you can eat and drink afterwards’. Do you thank this servant for doing what you commanded? So for you. When you have done all that you have been told to do, you must say: ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty’».

«We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty»

+ Fr. Josep VALL i Mundó
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Christ's message is once more about service. The Gospel is always insisting upon the spirit of service. And it helps to see how the Verb of God Incarnate —Yahweh's, Isaiah's servant— «took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient» (Phil 2:2-7). Christ also said: «But I am in the midst of you as one who serves» (Lk 22:27), as «the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many» (Mt 20:28). Jesus' example was clearly apparent when He washed his disciples' feet, thus accomplishing a servant's task. With that gesture He wanted to make quite evident that his followers were to serve, help and love each other, as brothers and servers to all, as He proposes in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

We have to live all our Christian life with that sense of service and without believing we are doing anything extraordinary. All our family, professional and social life —in the political, economical world, etc.— has to be imbibed by this spirit. «To serve, to serve», asserted St. Josemaría Escrivá; he wanted us to understand that “to be useful” we have to live a life of generous service without seeking honors, human glory or applause.

In the old days they said that phrase “nolentes quaerimus” —«amongst our rulers let us look for those who do not ambition power; those who do not want to show off»— when it was time to nominate someone for the Hierarchy. This is the actual purpose of those good pastors that are ready to serve the Church, as the Church wants to be served: to assume the condition of servants as Christ did. Let us remember the well-known words by St. Augustine stating how the ecclesial function has to be exerted: «Non tam praeesse quam prodesse»; not so much to command but to serve, being useful.