Tag Archives: service

Gospel Reflection for February 4, 2018, 5th Sunday Ordinary Time

29 Jan

Scripture Readings: Job 7.1-4,6-7; 1 Corinthians 9.16-19,22-23; Mark 1.29-39

“On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. Jesus came, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her and she began to serve them.” – Mark 1.29-31

Peter’s mother-in-law survived in the oral traditions of the early Church and claims two verses in Mark’s gospel, the first to be written. We don’t know her name but she become the first woman disciple. The New American Bible, the translation Catholics hear in church, translates the Greek word diakonie as “began to wait on.” The word means serve, including providing for physical needs and serving the table. The word deacon, an office in the Church, comes from this same word. Jesus gives the word serve additional meaning when he equates serving with giving one’s life. He says of himself, “For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45). Peter’s mother-in-law responds to Jesus’ act of raising her up by serving him and his four new male disciples–Peter, Andrew, James, and John. She becomes a disciples who give herself to Jesus and his mission. Women disciples appear at Jesus’ crucifixion. Like Peter’s mother-in-law these women serve Jesus and follow him. They accompany him from Galilee to Jerusalem (Mark 15.40-41). Perhaps Peter’s mother-in-law is one of the many unnamed women who follow and serve Jesus to the end.

Who models a discipleship of service that you try to follow in your life?


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Gospel Reflection for November 5, 2017, 31st Sunday Ordinary Time

31 Oct

Sunday Readings: Malachi 1.14; 2.2, 8-10; Thessalonians 2.7-9.3; Matthew 23.1-12

“The greatest among you will be the one who serves the rest.” – Matthew 23.11

Perhaps some people in the early Christian communities claim more importance than others. When Matthew writes more than 50 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christians may be living the early ideals of sharing goods and extending hospitality in mutual love with less fervor. Perhaps roles are creating rank in the household of Christ. The message in Sunday’s gospel strongly warns against being self-inflated rather than humble. It challenges us to learn from Jesus’ example and serve one another.

Today the Church has evolved as an institution with roles, robes, and ranks. Our model remains Jesus Christ, who identifies with the least and washes his friends’ feet before the last suppers as a servant. Jesus calls us to service, not station and status.

What has sustained you in the practice of serving others? What has deterred you?


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Gospel Reflection for September 20, 2015, 25th Sunday Ordinary Time

14 Sep
Photo via Flickr user Lawrence OP

Photo via Flickr user Lawrence OP

Sunday Readings: Wisdom 2.12, 17-20; James 3.16-4.3; Mark 9.30-37

“Whoever wants to be first must be last and the servant of all.”

(Mark 9.35)

When Jesus begins to tell his disciples that suffering lies ahead, that he will be put to death and rise again, they find themselves too afraid to ask questions. But they did not feel too afraid to argue who among them was greatest. So Jesus has to sit them down and explain that in his company those who serve are greatest. He uses welcoming a child as an example. In the ancient world children were invisible, non-people. To receive a child is to receive him. Jesus’ teaching gives us a very different picture of Christian community than the hierarchical one in which we live. Often those who live Jesus’ teaching are invisible to us.

Whose service is vital to your day to day existence at home, at work?

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Gospel Reflection for February 8, 2015, 5th Sunday Ordinary Time

2 Feb

Sunday Readings: Job 7.1-4, 6-7; 1 Corinthians 9.16-19, 22-23; Mark 1.29-39

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Now Peter’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

(Mark 1.29-31)

Jesus heals many people in Capernaum and moves on to preach and heal in other villages of Galilee. Jesus also heals Peter’s mother-in-law, who becomes his first woman disciple. Mark tells her story in a single verse (1.31). Jesus takes her hand and lifts her up. The Greek word for lifts up is the same verb Mark uses to describe Jesus’ resurrection. The woman responds to Jesus’ healing. She begins to serve the new community gathered in her house. The New American Bible translates the word serve(diakonie in Greek) as begins to wait on. Peter’s mother-in-law has one of the two credentials that distinguish the women from Galilee who stand at the cross after the men flee. They followed and served Jesus. Peter’s mother-in-law could have been among them with Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome.

Who models a discipleship of service that you try to follow in your life?

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