The common concept of people in our society today about “service” (paglilingkod), is by way of ruling-over or lording- over the people. For you to serve the needs of other, first, you must acquire a public office – one must get a position in order for him/her to serve. That’s the reason why, as a country, we never progress – poverty and injustices rapidly increasing all the more.

Christian service on the other hand, is totally the opposite. Service is career itself, not career/office as service. In taglish, “ang service dapat kinacareer.” This kind of service is patter to that of Jesus Christ. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

People in the time of Jesus were like our people today. The “popular” were the ones being exalted or instituted by royal coronation. This what we call “showbiz politics.” James and John also followed the same mentality as many Catholics do today. In response to their personal ambition, Jesus corrected them by rather saying, “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” This is Christian service and leadership.

Ambition is simply defined as “a strong desire to do or to achieve something.” This is typical to man. Is it the same with service? Is the only way to serve others is to become a “mayor” or “congressman” or “senator” or a “president?” For others, perhaps, yes. But for our Lord, it’s a big NO. Jesus was known to his contemporary and to succeeding generations, not because of “title” or “degree”. He was known and loved by many simply because of His words and deeds. He serves others because he loved them so much. As Christians, we must serve others out of love. This supposed to be our Christian ID in the society.

Service, therefore, is not a career nor a position. Service in the Christian sense, is a behavior or rather behavioral character. It is not something to be sought but an act to be performed. There is no need for us to run for a public office in order to serve others in their needs. It is funny and shameful to see people in the public offices, when you very well know, they’re not supposed to be there. Sad to say, some aspires for the office, not because they really care to serve. Their ambition is no more than just to sit there then control and manipulate.

Finally, to serve means to suffer for others. Let us be servant-leader to one another. Jesus is the true servant-leader, in every generation. He leads, not because he was their leader, but because he first serves them in all their needs. This is the kind of leader we need today. We need true leaders, not only because they are the elected ones, the proclaimed individuals, but because of their exceptional service to their brethren. Let us then follow the Lord’s lead. Amen.

~ Fr. Edgar Ma. Benedi-an, OSM

Source: Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet Newsletter – October 21, 2018 issue.