November 17, 2020
During the Last Supper, in the Gospel of Luke, the disciples are arguing among themselves as to whom is the greatest. Jesus points out that among the rulers of the world, people lord it over one another and make their authority felt. Jesus is disappointed in their actions and points to his presence in their midst “as the one who serves.” This is the model that the disciples are to embrace in their leadership: “let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant” (Lk 22:24-26).
Our first reading and responsorial psalm embody the service that a shepherd gives to his sheep, willing even to lay down his life for them. It is an image used throughout the Old Testament to convey the tender care and compassion that God has for all God’s creation and it is applied to Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Perhaps the way to understand our gospel is to see it as a challenge for us to shepherd as God does, and to imitate Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Our care and outreach to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned is how God’s care for them is manifested concretely, and how we can continue the ministry of Jesus in our world today. Our service to the poor most clearly imitates the example of Jesus and will continue to make him visible in our midst “as the one who serves.”