August 15, 2022
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He Came to Serve

He Came to Serve

He will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. Luke 12:37

As promised, in heaven, our triumphant and most glorious Lord Jesus will wait on us! Scholars call this the eschatological reversal. It is God serving his people, or more precisely, Christ serving his Body.  

Heaven is all about love and service, eternally, with infinite care, without growing tired, without being bored, without fear that something will go wrong. The author, whom we call Luke, wrote his Gospel for the grandchildren of those who had physically seen Jesus. Apparently, the enthusiasm and the expectation of their grandfathers and fathers had faded away, replaced by lukewarm piety, resignation, and a matter-of-fact attitude, which covered all areas of their life.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke set out to rekindle in them the original faith and trust of their forefathers. He pointed out that Jesus came to serve and to give his life in ransom for all people. He was among his disciples as the most insignificant slave… He had washed his disciples’ feet and he was among them as the one who serves. (cf. Luke 22:27)

He had served his disciples with his teachings, his example, his healing touch and, most importantly, by showing them how to live with firm hope and how to die for one’s friends. Maybe Luke’s congregation had already forgotten most of it… They had also forgotten how patiently their ancestors awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes. Wisdom 18:7 And they were no longer inspired by the patient examples of Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, and all other patriarchs. (cf. Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19) 

The books of Wisdom and the letter to the Hebrews recorded those outstanding examples of faith, trust, hope and patient endurance because they are the essential prerequisites for action and for service.

Jesus waited 30 years in the silence and obscurity of Nazareth before his service began. His teaching about being vigilant, attentive servants are placed by Luke after the story of the foolish rich man who was anxious about piling up more earthly goods instead of piling up treasures of loving concern of others and of growing rich in what matters to God. It is as if Jesus is saying to us all: “if you want to be anxious, be anxious about God’s judgment on your performance as a servant; be anxious about vigilance, attentiveness and joyous availability of your service.”

We might have reasons for concern here.  

Unlike our ancestors, unlike Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob, we might have sudden bursts of enthusiasm followed by withdrawals.  

We might have intense times of caring followed by indifference.  For a while we could feel ready to overcome difficulties and then, in matter of minutes, we could get disheartened. We can dream of a much brighter future for us and for people around us, then, we can turn cynical and distant.

Perhaps, we cannot keep up our hope, our attentiveness, our caring, our vigilance, and our dedication until the Lord comes again.  

The acclamation after the words of institution: Until you (Lord) come again means until the TOTAL CHRIST, head, and members, is served with constant, tender, living care.  

Until everyone is free from anguish, pain, and sorrow. 

Until love has conquered the last traces of selfishness and indifference.

Until the Kingdom will have reached its perfection.

The Lord Jesus taught us by example that our belts must be fastened around our waists and our lamps be burning for action. Whenever need arises, we are to be prompt to pull up our “long tunics” of piety and spirituality to be svelte and agile in our service. “The lamp” of our faith and trust in the Lord must be always bright enough for us to be headed to wherever someone needs our loving intervention. They must also be burning brightly because it is faith that enables us to see the Lord in the less fortunate, the lowly, the sorrowing, the needy, the least of his suffering members.  

During the Last Supper, Jesus tied an apron around his waist and proceeded to perform the humblest chore assigned to the least among the household’s slaves. Today he ties his apron around his waist once again, and he proceeds to wait on us around his table, the Table of the Eucharist. May we draw inspiration to do the same for each other. May we draw courage to overcome our self-absorption. May we draw enthusiasm to be always attentive, caring, prompt, and humble in our service; until the day in which the Lord himself will wait on us in his Kingdom!

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Written by
Fr Dino Vanin