by Ken Rolheiser
Called to serve and be Kings

We have all chuckled at the story of a young priest who saw Jesus walking down the street in his town. He quickly calls the Pope, “Jesus is walking down the street, what should I do?” The Pope replies, “Look busy”. 

Imagine this real news flash: “Jesus Christ is in our town in the church.” Imagine the line-up of tourists and pilgrims on Sunday morning. We have grown so complacent about it all. He is in fact in our churches, in our streets and in our homes. 

He is in the Eucharist and in the Word we open and share. He is in your neighbour, in your spouse, and in our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Matthew18:20).

In the way of hyperbole, do you wear your crown when you serve others? Through Baptism we are anointed Kings and Prophets. We are to be the eyes of Christ, the feet of Christ and the hands of Christ who is King and Lord. We share in His mission and suffering, so we can hope to share in His glory.

Our choice: crucify Christ with our indifference and sin or share in the very life of Christ and His Kingship as stewards and disciples by taking up our crosses and following our King. Teresa of Avila said Christ has no body on earth but ours.

How the angels must have shuddered to see the Son of God humble himself so, he upon whom they do not even dare to look (1 Peter 1:12). After the washing of the feet Jesus asks, “Who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at the table? I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27).

Do we understand the model Jesus has given us to follow? “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will later.” (John 13:7). “Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave to all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” Mark 10:44-45).

“As I have done for you, you should also do” (John 13:15). From the point of the incarnation Jesus continued to come down to the point of kneeling down to wash the disciples’ feet. 

“Do this in memory of me,” Jesus said at the Last Supper, but he could also have said it about washing the feet of others. The Creator kneeling before his creatures. “Proud ashes, blush with shame. God humbles himself and you exalt yourself!” St Bernard used to say to himself.

Humbling ourselves to serve is a way we can be like God and imitate the Eucharist in our lives. An important self examination is required as we look at our life of service. Am I serving my brothers and sisters, or are they serving me? Love and humility are part of serving Christ.

Each of us can use our gifts as the salt that lifts up our brothers and sisters to praise our Father in Heaven. The love we receive from God is the salt that flavours how we relate to people – with kindness, compassion and forgiveness.

(558 words)