COR THOUGHTS 228: The Call to Serve Is Stamped in Our Bodies


In this Sunday’s Gospel, Christ reverses the world’s values when he insists that the “greatest among you must be your servant.” For Christ, who is the greatest among us, came not to be served but to serve. One of Saint John Paul II’s greatest theological contributions was his insistence that this call to love as Christ loves – through being a gift to others, through serving others – is stamped by God right in our bodies as male and female. A man’s body makes no sense by itself. Nor does a woman’s. Seen in light of each other, we see the call to be a gift to one another, a gift that is at the service of human life itself. In the second reading, Saint Paul draws from this truth when he says he loved the Thessalonians “as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such affection for you,” he continues, “we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well.” This is what a mother does when she nurses her child. This is what we are all called to do if we are to discover the meaning of life: “For man can only find himself,” observed the Second Vatican Council, “through the sincere gift of himself” (Gaudium et Spes 24).