Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In this first Sunday after the Feast of the Exaltation of Glorious Cross we are confronted with a rather challenging Gospel passage. It contradicts everything that society teaches, it contradicts everything that we are taught at university or work about leadership, but yet again it gives us a charter on how we should live our Christian lives. Sometimes when we read what Jesus says we question ourselves: “does this man really know what he is talking about?” I mean who in this day and age would instruct us to “be servants” or “slaves”? Everyone encourages us to be strong leaders. We are challenged to get to the top at whatever cost, be it through status, fame, money, power and unfortunately oppression of others. But Jesus came to teach us a new way of getting to the top. He taught us that we must serve everyone with love. He taught us that we must humble ourselves not to reach the top of the organisation that we are working for but to reach the ultimate “top” which is the heavenly kingdom.

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“Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant”, is a difficult constitution to follow, but these are the words of a true leader. If we take a moment to think about these words, we can see how right Jesus was. Let’s face it, who would you prefer to be your leader, someone who is arrogant, pompous or selfish; someone who is proud and is only concerned about rank or status! Or would you prefer someone who is humble, someone who is kind, generous, loving; someone 

who respects your opinion, your freedom and your dignity! I know that I would choose the later; I would choose someone who is like Jesus, the true leader. Let us always look to our Lord as our ultimate example and truly live and proclaim his words in everything that we do and everything that we say.

Well, I can truly say that I am missing everyone at the parish. Although my time here in Lebanon has given me the opportunity to spend some time with my family and especially my baby nephew; and also to rest, seeing all the activity in the parish via social media really stirs in my emotions of love and attachment to Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral. I watched with great joy the procession that took place on Tuesday night. It is wonderful that we continue to live out our Maronite traditions in Australia. Thank you to Father Youwakim and Fr Pierre for organising and leading the procession with our Bishop. Also, this week the courses on the Maronite Church and traditions have begun through our English Faith Formation Committee and I encourage you all to take part in them so that you can discover and understand the treasures of our Maronite Church.

Blessings from Lebanon,

Fr Tony Sarkis

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