Are you chosen by God to serve?

After Jesus washed the feet of His disciples he said: “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen.” (Jn 13:15-17) What is your attitude about service? Are you here to serve or to be served? Are you chosen by God to serve? Like a lot of Catholic answers, the answer is “both-and”. God humbly serves us, and as a creature created in His image, you are called to reflect and to share what God does for you. God serves us and we serve God primarily by serving our neighbor. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25:40b) God loved us first. God chose us first. (cf. 1 Jn 4:19; Jn 15:16) Before anything was, there was God. (cf. Gen 1:1) God comes first whether you put Him first or not, but it’s best if you do put Him first in your life because He gives life, eternal life. “…whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? (Mk 8:35-37) It is all about getting your priorities straight. The feast day of Mother Teresa of Kolkata is Sunday, September 5. Mother Teresa’s priority was care and compassion for the poor and especially the dying. She described herself in this way: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.” She founded the Missionaries of Charity which in 2015 consisted of 5,161 sisters serving in 758 houses in 139 countries. Mother Teresa described one encounter she had with a poor, dying man in this way: “The forgotten man in the street, the one we picked up in the streets of Calcutta, was Jesus bearing that man’s appearance. It was Jesus who was hungry. I will never forget the man who was half-eaten by worms when we found him. He was tenderly carried to the home for dying destitutes. On the way, he murmured, ‘I have lived like an animal, but now I am going to die loved and surrounded with care.’ That is how he died and went home to God. That was Jesus under the disguise of the poor.” God doesn’t hide his face from us, but we often refuse to see Him among us. It would be sad if you didn’t know your own poor. Just as love begins at home, so too poverty begins at home. You need to know who is lonely, unloved, and forgotten in your own homes.

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