content from Creighton University's Daily Reflections
Chris Duffy, S.J., President's Office
“It’s not about you, it’s about me.”
Sounds like a “break-up” line, doesn’t it?
In my prayer over today’s readings, I received a sense that Jesus might reverse both the wording and context of the above phrase to suit his message for his Apostles—and us. The phrase would be more to the liking of, “It’s about you; it’s not about me.”
Just before this scripture passage begins, Jesus shared with his Apostles that very soon he was going to have to serve others in a very unpleasant way—suffering on a tragic scale--to fulfil his mission on earth. His loving Kingdom was at hand.
He was also trying to help his followers understand that serving (although serving in the intense fashion he was about to do was not called for by everyone) was the way to be his follower. Serving others was the way to fulfill their calling—to bring about the Kingdom. Being a member of his family in his Kingdom was not about ruling over others; it was about serving them.
His Apostles had not quite fully understood this yet. Fortunately, Jesus, being both human and divine, knew full well how our nature is integrated. Our humanity, we are born with; our divinity—our spark of the divine—is granted to us through baptism. Jesus looked to both sides of our nature to help us see that by our serving of others, we become fulfilled; we are fulfilling our mission of bringing about the Kingdom.
A few years ago, I met a woman in a hospital undergoing chemotherapy. She shared with me a powerful change in her life, one that touches upon the message in today’s Gospel. I asked her if I could mention her story someday, keeping her identity confidential; she agreed.
Mary (not her real name) was undergoing chemotherapy for stage four cancer. She lived about four blocks away from the hospital and would walk to her treatments. She was quite haggard and in a lot of pain most days.
Mary shared with me that she would cry as she walked to her chemotherapy, her anguish fomenting from the fear of the treatment itself. And she would continue shedding her tears as she headed home after her treatment, the sadness then a combination of feeling awful both emotionally and physically.