“For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This is one of the key verses in Sacred Scripture that sums up the life of Jesus Christ. This verse also reveals the two themes of today’s gospel: service and suffering, and how they are inseparable.
Jesus made it very clear that at the end of our life, we will be judged on service (see Mt25:31-45). The Letter of St. James (2:16-17): “What good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions to not prove it? Can faith save you? Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them: ‘God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!” – if you don’t give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead.” We must have a “living faith”, one that serves the needy.
The first reading from Isaiah, one of the Songs of the Suffering Servant, speaks of one who will redeem God’s people through his sufferings. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus having been in “every aspect tested”, especially through his sufferings enables us to approach him with confidence: “to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”
Our Psalm response: “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.” In faith, we seek Jesus Christ in His mercy – having received the mercy and compassion of Jesus Christ, we can give the same to our brothers and sisters in need. We could not give this, if we have not received it ourselves.
We can clearly see the relationship of suffering and service in the life of Jesus Christ. He put His sufferings at the service of others. We unite all the suffering we experience with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, offering them for souls most in need of His mercy. When we serve someone, in some way we decrease the burden of their suffering.
Let’s focus on the needs of others, rather than our own problems and needs – then we follow Jesus Christ’s example!
May God bless us always!