What does it means to be in authority? Is it being the center of commands, rules, and regulations? Is it being the most popular, honorable, excellent, and glorious of all? Or, is it to be the first initiator of what it means to serve with honesty and sincerity and to be in the service for the welfare of the common good? Jesus in the last Sunday’s gospel showed to us the real nature of authority, i.e. service. Why authority is service and not fame? Authority is service because it is not self-oriented but people-oriented and it does not brag. It enhances relationships and at the same time mutual understanding. Its attention is more focused on what is for the betterment of the people’s welfare than self-proclamation.
Jesus has shown to us last Sunday what authority really means in the light of service. Authority cannot be what it is and what it must be without service as its core and firm foundation. Using the last Sunday gospel as our lens and point of reference for reflection, let us focus more outside of ourselves and observe; what, then is the real identity of an authority nowadays? As I reflect upon the real identity of an authority today it seems too far from what it must supposed to be, i.e. its interconnectedness with Jesus’ authority as model. People nowadays, including me, expect that a person in authority should be influential, powerful, in control of everything, and has the word of honor. But, as I encountered the gospel last Sunday which highlights Jesus’ authority, my knowledge and impression about an authority has changed.
Aside from service, the gospel pinpointed to us that Jesus authority means humility and being down to earth. We cannot attain the real fullness and essence of authority unless we humble and immersed ourselves with the reality of today. Nowadays, majority of people in authority have failed to show its real identity. Example of this is the Philippines’ government which until now the cycle of corruption and insensitivities on its system itself is still rampant and becoming like a disease which not only kills the public trust but Truth per se. When will the real identity and essence of authority be totally reveal and realized? I think, its real identity and essence will only be revealed and realized in the public sphere unless the people in and with authority considers the great importance of Jesus as the model of genuine authority that serves; being and becoming humble, honest, and down to earth.