Jesus wants disciples who serve, not dominate others, pope says
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Jesus showed that greatness comes from serving others, Pope Francis said.
Jesus opposes "worldly logic with his own: Instead of exalting yourself over others, get off your pedestal to serve them; instead of rising above others, be immersed in others' lives," he said.
With so many people in need, especially after the pandemic, "seek to be immersed in service rather than to climb up for one's own glory," the pope said, speaking to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for his Angelus address Oct. 17.
The pope said the day's Gospel reading shows Jesus teaching his disciples that "true glory is not obtained by rising over others, but by experiencing the same baptism that he, Jesus, would receive just a little later in Jerusalem, that is, the cross."
Baptism means immersion, the pope said, and Jesus, through his passion, "immersed himself into death, offering his life to save us."
"Therefore, his glory, the glory of God, is love that becomes service, not power that seeks to dominate," he said.
People are always tempted to use everything, including relationships, "to feed our ambition, to climb the ladder of success, to reach important positions," he said.
"The quest for personal prestige can become a spiritual illness, masquerading itself even behind good intentions," he said. Therefore, people must always question their real intentions and ask themselves, "Why am I carrying out this work, this responsibility? To offer service or rather to be recognized, praised and to receive compliments?"
Instead, "Jesus asks us to immerse ourselves" compassionately in other people's lives, the pope said.
For example, "Do we think compassionately about the hunger of so many people? When we have a meal before us, which is a grace from God that we can eat, there are people who do not have enough food for the entire month. Let's think about that. And immerse ourselves compassionately, to have compassion" for the real people behind the statistics, he said.
God "did not remain up above in heaven to look down on us from up there, but he lowered himself to wash our feet," the pope said. "God is love and love is humble, it does not exalt itself, but comes down like the rain that falls to the earth and brings life."
He said to serve like Christ requires dedication and the strength of baptism, "of that immersion in Jesus that all of us have already received through grace that directs us, moving us to follow him instead of seeking our interests, but to put ourselves at the service of others."