Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” – Mk 9:35
This line from Scripture has a prominent place in our home on a cross (one of many we have placed throughout our home). It is on a table in our foyer so that all may see what is important to my wife and me; to serve others. Below is a picture of that cross.
Serving others is what we should all strive to do. As I began my formation process, we were taught about “Diakonia” from day one. In Greek, Diakonia means “service among others” and it is at the core of what it means to be a Deacon. Just as Jesus came to serve and not be served, we too are here to serve; our priests, our parish community, our Lord.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I receive such great joy when I have the opportunity to be there for others. There is no greater feeling than to know that you have made a difference in someone’s life, even if it is something small.
My wife and I used to teach high school students who were preparing themselves for Confirmation. Part of our teaching was to share this concept of Diakonia and how we must all, as Christians, make sure that this is first and foremost in everyone’s mind. We told them that even if you do not know the person you are helping and may never see that person again, that should never stop you from doing the right thing. Your act of service, of kindness, may transform this person’s life in ways that we may never know but that should not be a pre-requisite for us to help. We must act because that is what our Heavenly Father is asking us to do. I have seen many times, and have read stories as well, that these types of encounters truly can change a person’s life and equally important, can change their heart and soul so they too want to be “servant of all.”
I challenge each one of you to embrace Diakonia, to make a difference in someone’s life every day. To perform an act of charity, of kindness, especially for a stranger, every opportunity that you can. Reach out to someone that maybe you have been distant from and allow the Holy Spirit to embrace you in your encounter. Allow your heart to be overflowing with His love. I also challenge you to prayerfully reflect on these words from Scripture: “Beloved, if God so loves us, we must also love one another.” (1 Jn 4:11 NAB).
“Do small things with great love.” – Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Peace and Blessings.