James and John, the sons of Zebedee, showed that they loved power as they asked Jesus to make them “ministers” in his kingdom since they thought that it is a political kingdom. The Lord refused to fulfill their lust; he didn’t come to create a state on earth but to change everything through the bible. The disciple of Christ shouldn’t look for serving him through politics; we have another language and different methods.

After this fall from James and John, Jesus says to his disciples: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them”. In the Church, no one can make himself a master and no one overpowers others. Power, in the sense of giving orders, commanding, arrogance and having a desire to give commands and to be obeyed, is not something from the New Testament. All of our life in the New Testament is service; you achieve your status through service. This is why the Lord continued his talk saying: “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”. Your greatness is valued according to your service. Your relationship with people starts when you start serving them. After that, Jesus continued this sense saying: “whoever wants to be first must be slave of all”. A slave in ancient civilizations doesn’t have any will: His master’s will is his; he is nothing in front of his master.

In Church and society, you fulfill others’ wishes. You shall feel the needs of others and try to fulfill them according to your ability. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I needed clothes and you clothed me”.

The Lord concludes this section by saying: “For even 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 an echo of what he said a little earlier when he spoke about his passions, death and Resurrection. You shall die in service and give your life through taking real care daily of everything God puts in your way.

This chapter from Mark suits the Lenten period that we are in because it is a dedicated service for the poor and for each other. One part of fasting is a food diet, but it is truly a service for others as we pray for them.

In this Sunday, the giving of St. Mary the Egyptian’s life to Jesus is reflected. She served Him and also serves all of us when we look at her repentance. Others are everything: If they took what you gave them, they would feel that Christ is giving them and that they are becoming great in his grace, and once they grow through it this shall be passed into their brothers. In this blessed season, commit to prayers and helping the poor through giving and praying. When all of these meet together, this shall become a journey of humility and a path towards the Kingdom.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “شغف السلطة” –Raiati no15- 10.04.2011