A man can be attached to numerous things. Last week, we looked at social media as an example of reality that can make a man bound, dependent, enslaved; as something that one cannot imagine life without. The Gospel passage we read today presents a reality that is not less addictive and attractive than material things or other entertainment – power.
A big part of our life is about power. For some, it means that they have authority over others; for others, it means being obedient to some external powers that be. This natural organisation of life, present always and everywhere, even in indigenous tribes, may tend to turn into tyranny. Many people experience results of such a turn at work, at different places we serve or are involved. The reason for such treatment by the authority is usually a desire to be on the top, be supreme, and have power over others.
The mentality of many Jewish people contemporary to Jesus was that the Messiah would be a political ruler. Not surprising then that some of the Apostles wanted to be a part of the group in charge. On many grounds, it is better to be on the side of rulers than those who are the Messiah’s subjects. However, the two Apostles had to answer a question of what they needed the authority for. In reality, being the closest to the Messiah means suffering like Him and being immersed in the mystery of His Passion and Resurrection through baptism and faith. The power at Jesus’ side is not about doing whatever one wants but leading to Christ not by force but with love for the greater common good.
Leadership is an essential part of a well functioning group. Good leadership is needed everywhere – at work, at home, in the Church. Importantly, for everyone in power, a good sense of self-awareness is necessary, so the service is not a mere fulfilment of one’s self-centred desires but a genuine desire for the good of others – according to the commandment of love. Let us pray, so we are able to be willing to work for someone else’s good in the first place, and not be overcome by our desires for prestige and power over others.
Łukasz Gołąb – Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Sydney, Australia