“His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave.”

Philippians 2:6-7 

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Mark 9:30–37

In this Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus says to his disciples that if anyone wants to be first, they must make themselves last of all and servants of all. As can be seen from the quotation from Philippians for today, this is exactly what Jesus has done in his own life. Through Jesus, God has emptied himself and assumed the condition of a servant to humanity. 

This must be one of the most confusing paradoxes of the Christian faith. How can someone, who desires greatness, achieve this by humbling themselves and becoming a servant? Because this paradox can be so confusing, the cross, a symbol of the Christian faith, can be a stumbling block. How can one worship a God who appears so weak on the cross – so helpless? 

Yet this is the genius of God. By really following his example and humbling ourselves, we would transform our lives and our communities. How can warfare survive if all parties are serving one another? How many unnecessary fights could be avoided between friends or family members if all involved embraced humility?

The power of the cross lies in its ability to transform minds, hearts and societies.

Perhaps we can take some time out today to reflect on the power of humility to transform. Are there any relationships in our lives that can be strengthened through the power of humility?  

Loving God,

You humbled yourself and became a servant of all humanity. Give us the wisdom to understand the path of service you have set out for us. Grant us the grace and strength to follow this path.


Rev. Grant Tungay SJ

Fr Grant Tungay SJ is a lawyer by training, he left a career in law to join the Jesuits. He specialised in human rights law and has done volunteer work at the SA Human Rights Commission and also worked as an intern for the Centre of Applied Legal Studies at WITS. He worked at the Jesuit Institute South Africa for a few years in the area of social justice and is interested in the overlap between law, social justice and spirituality.

See more from Grant Tungay SJ
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