THIS is a common enough phenomenon. In any transaction, in any
communication, there are many elements that get lost. Speakers can
speak badly, and listeners can also listen badly, for example. Between
one and the other, many things escape our attention.
Besides, there are non-tangible items and considerations and other
imponderables that just cannot be articulated in the instruments like
contracts and other forms of agreement we use to define the relations
Very often, our responses and reactions to events can be impertinent.
We can miss the point in many instances. Remember that episode when
Christ announced to his disciples that he was going to be arrested,
tried and crucified, and then rise on the third day? (cfr Mt 20,17-28)
His followers did not understand what he was saying, and they were
afraid or ashamed to ask questions. Instead, a mother of two of the
apostles made a silly request—that her sons would sit beside him in
the glory of heaven.
Yet, in spite of this lamentable predicament, Christ salvaged the many
small good items that came up along the way to adapt his message to
his listeners’ needs and conditions.
When the two apostles gamely answered, “We can,” to his query if they
were also willing to drink the cup that he was about to drink, that is
to say, to suffer the way he would suffer, he was happy, and proceeded
to tell what they needed to do instead.
And that was none other than just to serve. Let’s go through that
beautiful part again. “You know that among the pagans the rulers lord
it over them, and their great men make their authority felt,” he said.
“This is not to happen among you. No, anyone who wants to be great
among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among
you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt
It seems Christ wants to tell us that while we can miss many things
that he wants to tell us, we can somehow make up and recover his
precious messages and their nuances if we just trust and love him,
showing this in deeds by serving, for loving and serving are two words
that describe one reality.
Loving by serving puts us into a loop that goes beyond what our senses
can perceive and what our mind can discern. We may not be able to feel
anything, nor understand things, but by loving through serving others,
we would already be effectively not only getting the point but also
living the message God wants us to know and live.
This is a point that we need to chew on well. While we always want to
understand and even to feel what we ought to know and do, we should
try not to be too dependent on our understanding and feelings and just
proceed to loving God through serving others.
This is precisely the very heart of loving. It is an act done in pure
gratuity and goodness, without expecting any reward or privilege or
recompense. We do it because we just want to do it, no ifs nor buts,
no other reason than that we just want to do it.
If we can only convince ourselves of the wisdom of this message that
Christ is telling us, then we would truly simplify our life, fill
ourselves with joy and peace irrespective of whether the conditions
and circumstances are favorable or not, advantageous or not.
With this mindset, we would extricate ourselves from the constricting
grip of our intelligence and feelings. Of course, our intelligence is
oriented toward the infinite. Let’s just make sure that we don’t allow
it to be dominated and led precisely by feelings and other earthly and
We need to engage our intelligence, our mind and heart with the source
of infinite goodness and love that is God himself who tells us what to
do through Christ. We need to see this very important connection.
Besides, we need to see how Christ continues to act on us through the
Church which he founded, endowing it with the proper powers so that it
can truly and integrally continue Christ’s work on us throughout time.
If we see this picture well and try to conform ourselves to it, then
we would be on the way to recover what may be lost because of our