Say NO to entitlements
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - June 7, 2018 - 12:00am

LET’S be clear about this. We are entitled to our rights but we should not feel entitled to privileges and favors, above our rights and needs. If they come, then let’s be thankful.

But be reminded that these privileges, favors and blessings are meant to strengthen our desire to serve and not to be served. But we should try to avoid them, since they only spoil and corrupt us.

We must be most wary when we happen to enjoy privileged positions or status in life because we tend to think that we deserve more entitlements. Not only would we expect them; we may even demand them for us.

That gospel episode where the two brother-apostles, James and John, asked Christ that they be seated one on His right and the other on His left in the Kingdom, reminds us of this point. (cfr Mk 10,32-45) These two brothers were already close to Christ, but they were not contented. They wanted more.

Sadly, this seems to be a common phenomenon these days. It can affect everyone, but it especially affects the young ones who appear to be more privileged than those in the previous generations because of the many new things they are learning and enjoying now. They feel entitled.

We should banish this temptation as soon as we feel it in us. On the contrary, we should follow the example of Christ who, despite of who he is, just wanted to serve.

In that gospel episode cited above, He reminded His apostles that “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.” (Mk 10,43-45)

The request of the two brothers smelled of a brattish mind, since it was made just after Christ talked about His impending death on the cross. It was so insensitive of them, to say the least. And they were already two of the closest apostles of Christ!

To make His point stronger, Christ insisted in the Last Supper that He washed the feet of the apostles. Peter initially refused but Christ insisted, if only to give them an example that what He did to them should be done among themselves and everybody else. And He reassured them that they would be blessed if they do it. (cfr. Jn 13,15-17)  Should that reassurance of Christ to His apostles not reassure us also to do the same? We should indeed instill in our mind and heart simply to serve and not to be served. We should try to avoid entitlements, or the pursuit of human glory.

Remember what Christ once said: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Mt 6,1)

We need to acquire the mentality of a servant which is actually the mentality of Christ Himself. Let us readjust our human standards to conform to what is proper to us, as Christ taught and lived. We usually look down on the status of servants. This must change! We should be convinced that by becoming a servant we would make ourselves like Christ.  Let’s say NO to entitlements.

Let’s just focus on how to serve God and others more and better. This should be the motto of our life: SERVE, SERVE, SERVE!

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