Upuan

Sunday Gospel Reflection
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10:35-45 | Oct. 17, 2021

Upuan
JM Nuqui – Campus Minister

“Seat” is commonly associated with power and authority. The head of the board is called chairperson. The head of the family often sits at the kabisera. Even the front seat during an event is reserved for distinguished personalities. “Seat of power” connotes the capital of a country. Medieval kings and queens fight for the throne. And even James and John, as we read in today’s Gospel, asked for a seat “one at Jesus’ left, and the other at the right.”

Ano bang meron sa upuan at gusting-gusto ito makamit ng mga tao? Nauunawaan ba talaga nila ang kanilang hinihiling? Kailangan bang nakaupo muna bago tunay na makapaglingkod at mag-alay ng sarili?

My dear brothers and sisters, the true power and authority that comes with that “seat” is only realized in service. The seat simply becomes a chair, an empty title, when used for personal gains and gratification. Ngunit anong uri ng serbisyo nga ba ang dapat ipamalas at ibigay? We need not look far for the perfect model on service. We just have to look at Jesus.

When authority figures sought for a seat at temples and courts, Jesus stood, walked, and journeyed with people.

When the rabbis sat and waited to be approached, Jesus stood and went where the crowds were.

And when the leaders stood erect and stared down at the people, Jesus knelt and washed the feet of his disciples.

I remember a particular experience of the Washing of the Feet during the Mass of the Lord’s supper. Instead of choosing twelve, our parish priest washed the foot of one random person from the assembly. The instruction was simple: after being washed, go wash the foot of another. There I saw a well-dressed man washing the feet of a child. Then the child washed the foot of a teenager. The teenager washed the foot of his fellow teenager who happened to be on a wheelchair. There I saw our barangay captain washing the foot of an old man. From the altar, I witnessed a whole community, on their knees, washing each other’s feet.

We realize that we are called to this kind of service. Service is never about sitting pretty and comfortably on our chairs and positions. Service is bringing our bodies down. We strip off our garments, fame, and titles. At kapag sinubukan na nating tumayo mula sa ating pagkakaupo, makikita natin ang napakaraming paa na kailangan nating hugasan—the feet of those who have never walked, those who have never worn a pair of rubber shoes, those who once walked in prison, those who walk for five long hours just to go to school, those who labor for sixteen hours a day, those who stay late in the evening and early morning walking back and forth the hospital corridors, those who had been in accidents, those who once walked out of the house and never came back, and even those who long to come back home.

Nalalapit na naman ang eleksyon. Mag-uupo nanaman tayo ng mga lider na maglilingkod para sa bayan. Nawa’y sa ating pagboto, piliin natin ‘yung naghahangad hindi lamang para sa upuan at pwesto, kundi ‘yung kayang tumayo para sa karapatang-pantao; ‘yung kayang magpakumbaba at bumaba kung nasaan ang mga tao; at ‘yung kung uupo man muli, uupo upang makinig sa mga sakit, hinaing, at nararamdaman ng mga pinaglilingkuran.

Often, in our service, we ask the question “where can I be more heroic?” But then we are reminded how menial a task the washing of the feet is. On the contrary, the servant leader asks, “where can I be more loving?” Saan ba ako mas makakapagmahal? My dear brothers and sisters, we have already been given an example.

Halika’t sabay-sabay tayong tumayo, tumindig, at maglingkod!

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