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Service is the measure of greatness in the Church

Tuesday, 25 February 2020



During his homily for Holy Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday, 25 February, the Holy Father commented on the day’s Gospel in which Jesus tells his disciples that “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all”. When we make compromises in trying to live according to the Gospel, we absorb the spirit of the world which leads us to dominate, he explained. However, Jesus wants us to follow the path of service.

The attitude of personal ambition of the disciples and their desire to advance is the spirit of the world. As Saint James writes in the day’s First Reading, the Holy Father continued: “to be a lover of the world means enmity with God”. Indeed, “there are no compromises in the Gospel and when someone wants to live in the Gospel while making compromises, they ultimately find themselves with the worldly spirit”.

Many wars and quarrels are precisely the result of worldly desires, the Pope explained, comparing those infected with worldliness to careerists who strive for greater recognition. Their envy comes from the devil and it is through this envy of the devil that “evil enters into the world. Envy is a worm that pushes you to destroy, to badmouth others, to annihilate others”, he added.

The greatest in the Church are not the Pope, bishops or cardinals, the Pope stressed, but rather “those who make themselves servants of all, those who serve everyone, not those with titles”. It is “whoever welcomes the humblest one, the one who serves the most”. Humility, he said, “is the only path against the spirit of the world”.

*L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly edition in English, n.12, 20 March 2020

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