“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mk. 10:43b-45
It is hard to hear about being a “slave of all.” Many people are still enslaved today, and our country broke free from the grievous sin of slavery when the Union was victorious in our nation‟s terrible Civil War, 1861-1865.
During the war, President Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. This executive order begins: “That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thence- forward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and na- val authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such per- sons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”
The “self-evident” truth that all people are created equal by God, and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” was enshrined in our Declaration of Independence. Yet, slavery comes in many forms. Some people are still enslaved by serious sin and repress others by tempting them to sin.
It is estimated that the pornography industry in the US alone ranges between 15 billion dollars to 90 billion dollars annually. To put that into perspective, the NFL (National Football League) made $16 billion in 2019, and $12 billion in 2020. The exploitation of women and the vulnerable is staggering.
Can you imagine how many hospitals, schools, agricultural colleges, universities, housing and food shelves $15 billion could build?! And how many good paying jobs that would create?!
So, what does Jesus mean that to become the first we must be the “slave of all”? Jesus was the perfect example of being enslaved by true love. But, of course, “true love” means that you are willing to serve God and do what is necessary to help people attain God.
Jesus followed his heavenly Father‟s design and took on our human form so that he could take on our human sins, suffer and die for them, and be raised in freedom so as to dispense the grace to us to live a life of true love, true freedom.
His mission led him to the cross so that everyone who repents of their sins and seeks God‟s Holy Commandments, assuredly through the Seven Sacraments, can find true freedom, authentic friendships and everlasting joy and peace in heaven – the reward of following Jesus Christ in his Catholic Church which has the fullness of mission activity.
The weekend of October 23/24 is World Mission Sunday whereby every parish and Catholic organization is called to celebrate our common mission with Christ through prayer, service and financial donations. Pope Francis has offered this theme for this day: “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (NT Acts of the Apostles 4:20).
This celebration supports the work of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, whose liaison for our Archdiocese is Deacon Mickey Friesen.
This year Deacon Friesen highlights for us Sister Rose Hang Vu who was born in Vietnam but met the Good Shepherd Sisters and joined the order when she was 16, taking final vows in 1979. She presently lives in New Brighton with her biological sister. She has traveled to Korea, Thailand and Vietnam to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ by helping “unwed mothers; street children; orphans; lepers; the elderly; and many more. She has also supported building chapels and helping to halt sex trafficking.”
She is one of the many from our Archdiocese who truly knows what slavery and true love of service means in the light of Jesus Christ who came, “not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Be another one of the many and continue to grow in true service.
Peace in Jesus Christ, Fr. Thomas McCabe