"Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" Mt 26:24
The high priests offer Judas thirty pieces of silver, the price of buying a slave in the ancient world, if he will hand Jesus over to them. How awful! Judas sells the Lord as if he were selling a slave, and indeed that is how Jesus presents himself to us. Kneeling down to wash the feet of his disciples, Jesus becomes a non person in his society. Slaves had no political rights. They were the property of those who owned them, and while some of them, no doubt, were well treated, they had no security.
All of this, of course, fits the theology and spirituality of the gospels well. Jesus is a slave for us. He chooses this role not only to position himself as the champion of the poor, but to help his disciples realize that the power they will be given after his resurrection is not the power of money, property and a large family, traditional signs of God's blessing. Rather, they will be servants of all, announcing a freedom beyond political categories not only to Jews, but to all the world. Once again, Jesus turns the world upside down.
Whenever we encounter this paradox in our own lives we are startled, even dismayed. We do everything we think necessary to achieve success, but the result is bittersweet at best. The emptiness of success without the deepening of our relationship with God and others envelopes us. Only when we serve others freely and graciously in order to announce the power of God within and among us is there lasting joy.
Today, pray for nothing except to do God's will.
Have you ever experienced deep joy in serving others without any hope of reward?