In the First Reading, Paul gave a quick summary of the history of Israel and of God’s promise of a Savior from David. Paul identified this Savior as Jesus, as [God] promised. Before the Savior came, John the Baptist rejected any idea that he was the Savior. Instead, John said what do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals of this feet.
This Person John speaks of is Jesus, who in the Gospel today identifies himself as the master and the One who sends the Apostles. One of the things Jesus said is If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. This happened immediately after Jesus washed their feet and he tells them they are blessed if they also serve others. However, the service is not for the sake of serving, otherwise, we are just one of those secular institutions that do good. Jesus points to himself as the example of service. We serve, because Jesus served, and we serve the way Jesus served: even the one who would betray him. Service is giving of oneself for the sake of the other, that the other person may have eternal life. Jesus served and spoke the truth that one of them will lift his heal against Jesus. By saying this, Jesus is calling Judas to repentance.
Christian service needs to call people to Jesus. It is to call people to receive the one whom I send, because when we receive the person Jesus sends, we receives me and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. Service must lead people to receive Jesus as he is, not as one imagines him to be. If our service shows a different Jesus, we are not really serving people. If our service does not call people to Jesus, we are not serving. Whether people respond to the call or not, is not our concern. We are to go out and serve as Jesus did, then we will be blessed.
Lord, teach me to serve as you served, calling people to you, proclaiming you as you are.