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WE are reminded of this part of the Christian life in that episode of the gospel where the mother of the apostles, James and John, asked Christ to seat her children next to him, one on his right and one on his left, in the Kingdom. (cfr. Mt 20,20-28)
Of course, mothers will always be mothers. They try to provide the best for their children. And so, Christ answered him that it is dangerous that those seats are already reserved for those chosen by God the Father.
In the meantime, Christ reminds the mother and the two apostles if they are ready to suffer with him, so that they understand that heaven can only be reached through the cross. And to the credit of the apostles, they immediately answered, “We can!”
We must realize then that any privilege, honor or praise given to us is a call for us to be more generous in our self-giving to an extent that we do not shy away from making the ultimate sacrifice to give our lives for God and others, as Christ did.
Our attitude is to sharpen our desire to serve and not to serve. Christ made it clear to the mother and the brother apostles when he said, “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)
Repeating the same idea, he said to them, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles rule over them, and their elders have authority over them. Not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. And whoever wants to be first among you, will be your slave.”
We should never feel entitled. Christ himself was the first to live this principle. As God, he emptied himself to become a man and to bear all the sins of the people by dying on the cross, all for the purpose of saving humanity. (cfr. Phil 2,7)
He reiterates this point when he laments the dominant sense of entitlement among some of the leading Jews of his time while praising the poor widow who threw all she had into the temple treasury. (cfr. Mk 12,38-44)
While it is certainly clear that we are entitled to our rights, we should not feel entitled to privileges and favors that outweigh our rights and needs. If they come and we cannot avoid them, let us be thankful. But we must realize immediately that when privileges and favors come to us, we are called to serve more.
Let us remind you that these privileges, favors and blessings are meant for us to strengthen our desire to serve and not to serve. But even so, we must avoid them, because they have the tendency to harm and harm us. We must always be on our guard against this danger.
We must have the mentality of a servant which is exactly the mentality of Christ himself. Let’s adjust our human standards to match what we actually deserve according to what Christ taught and lived. We often underestimate the status of servants. This needs to be changed! We must be convinced that by being a servant we can make ourselves like Christ. Let’s say NO to rights.
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