AM Psalm 31; PM Psalm 35
Exodus 4:10-20(21-26)27-31; 1 Corinthians 14:1-19; Mark 9:30-41
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”
- Mark 9:33-35
In today’s gospel, the apostles argue over who is the greatest among them. Okay, let’s not be too judgmental. The apostles are almost endearing in their raw humanness. Jesus’ answer, a “servant of all,” is for us, too. How easy is that? Servanthood connotes many virtues: Humility. Trust. Faith. Grace. For me, a memory popped up, so vivid I could see those sparkling blue Polish eyes and warm smile. Walter.
While I was a graduate student at Fordham University, a dear friend often invited me to dine with him and an elderly retired Jesuit, Walter. Walter was delightful! His lined face glowed with a youthful innocence, a kind of radiance. His speech and laugh were gentle and silently communicated an ineffable spiritual presence. Little did I know I was dining with a saint! Only after his death did I read his books With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me. I’m glad. I would have been too awestruck had I known who he really was.
As a missionary in Russia, Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. was arrested in 1941, imprisoned, severely tortured, and eventually sent to hard labor camps in Siberia. He became a “servant of all,” administering sacraments and leading prayer with fellow prisoners. Presumed dead, Father Ciszek spent 23 years in captivity under the harshest of conditions. The horrors he suffered are beyond imagination. Yet here was a man within whom existed no bitterness—only humility, joy, love, faith, grace, dignity. A faithful Servant.
Lord, help us to be faithful servants.
- Lindsay Reid