Isaiah 50:4-7 Philippians 2:6-11 Luke 22:14—23:56
Isaiah, writing to his people during the period of their exile in Babylon, knows that they need words that will rouse them. They are weary. So, while he himself is suffering, he is called by God to offer them hope. And, although the people of his day did not realize it, his words were also a foreshadowing of a time to come centuries later, when Jesus Christ would walk the earth, delivering a similar message of hope in troubled times. And now, some 2000 years later, we live in troubling times; but we can have faith that the Lord is indeed with us, to strengthen us, offering us courage and hope.
Moreover, throughout today’s readings, we find directions for how to live lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. We are called to be servant leaders, humble yet confident. Humble, as portrayed in Paul’s letter to the Philippians; but also confident that loving service to others in the name of Christ is the prescription for a life of meaning and purpose. Take note of the words of the Passion Narrative presented by Luke, where Jesus says: “Let the greatest among you be as the youngest and the leader as the servant.”
Almost 50 years ago, Robert K. Greenleaf, an American professor and corporate executive trainer wrote a book titled: “Servant Leadership”. It was to become one of the most influential books on corporate leadership ever written. It is primarily based on the principles espoused by Jesus. Greenleaf performed a great service to the world, demonstrating that leadership exemplified by service to others, is both timeless and boundless as a principle for conducting business; and for living a good life.
When Jesus was with us “in the flesh”, he lived (and led) by the examples of faith, hope and love - as demonstrated by his acts of service. He gave every ounce of his life in service to The Father, and thus, to the world. How are we being called to give our lives in service to God by serving various people and aspects of God’s creation? This is a question to ponder as we enter into the holiest week of our liturgical calendar!