“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
Fr. Flor McCarthy, SDB reflected on the passage above saying authority is a very important subject. It touches us all. Many people have had bad experiences of authority. He goes on to say:
People seek authority for different reasons. Some people like the power that goes with it; it makes them feel important. Others like the prestige it brings. Others like the higher salary. All these reasons have one thing in common – authority is seen as an opportunity to promote oneself.
Jean Vanier (founder of L’Arche) distinguishes two kinds of authority: an authority which imposes, dominates and controls; and an authority which accompanies, listens, liberates, empowers, gives people confidence in themselves, and calls them to be aware of their responsibilities.
There is even a third kind of authority, silent, loving and hidden – the authority of powerless love, which waits, builds trust, and sometimes watches night and day in anguish. Parents have sometimes to wait and watch their children who have gone astray, hoping that they will come back.
Some people have lust for power, and use their authority to dominate others. This is an abuse of authority. The lust for power is rooted not in strength but in weakness. Only the weak measure their worth by whom they can dominate. Authority exercised like this isolates the possessor, and tends to bring out the worst in everyone.
Jesus reminds us, in order to serve one has to be ready to drink the cup that Jesus drank – the cup of sacrifice and suffering. When you serve you demonstrate an authority that Jesus had. This kind of authority we can use in our Church.
I want to remind you again that we will have the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick during masses next weekend. We ask for God’s strength and healing to be with our brothers and sisters. If there is someone you know who would benefit from receiving this sacrament, but is unable to be with us, please let me know and I will go to them.
The installation of Bishop Johnston as our new bishop will happen on Wednesday, November 4th, at 2:00 p.m. The installation will take place at our Cathedral. Because there is limited seating each parish will be given two tickets for the ceremony. If you are interested in attending, let me know.