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Servant and Apostle

by May 12, 2022Friar Reflection

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that he is a servant and an apostle: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no servant (doulos) is greater than his master nor any messenger (apostolos) greater than the one who sent him.”  What does it mean to be a servant?  Jesus gave a concrete example earlier in this chapter:

“Jesus rose from supper and took off his outer garments.  He took a towel and tied it around his waist.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist” (John 13:4-5).

Jesus tells his disciples that he has just given them an example of service, an example or model that they are called to imitate.

“Do you realize what I have done for you?  You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.  If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.  I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:13-15).

Jesus also calls himself an apostle (apostolos).  An apostle is one who is sent on a mission, a representative or ambassador of the one who sent them.  The Gospel of John tells us that God the Father sent his Son into the world to save it: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).  Jesus tells us that as God has sent him into the world so now, he is sending us into the world to show people the love that God has for the world.  We are God’s representatives to the world.  We are the Body of Christ.  Jesus tells us that we are his and the Father’s apostles: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

We are called through our baptism to be servants and apostles like Jesus.  God sends us today into the world just as he sent Jesus into the world.  Let us strive each day as servants and apostles to be the true image of God and the Body of Christ.



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