Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
John Milton has the battle flag of hell proclaiming: “Non serviam” – “I will not serve.” That is the battle cry of rebellion, from the very fall of the angels, and the whole rebellion is undone by Our Lady’s simple “Behold the servant – the handmaid – of the Lord.” Mary’s utter willingness to serve God with every fiber of her being reverses that selfish, self-seeking rebellion that has been at war with the humility of God Himself since the Fall. For, as the Son of God proclaimed, “I am among you as one who serves.”
Our gospel shows us Peter’s mother-in-law who is ill with a fever. Jesus comes and heals her – the fever leaves her – and “immediately she rose and served them.” Notice: she didn’t serve herself, go on a well earned vacation, start lamenting over her sufferings. She got up and started serving.
Which is just what Our Lord did when He lived among us, and what His followers have done ever since. There is perhaps no greater joy than serving from a full heart, something any gracious host knows. The joy of serving is greater than the joy of being served. And yet, the world keeps wanting to enslave others to do our wills, to serve us. Well, that is the world, which proudly says: “I will not serve.” But we who have been healed of the fever of this world can humbly rise, and with a warm smile, begin serving. In union with all the Servants of God, beginning with the Son of God Himself.