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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: True Authority

Mar 3, 2021
Lent with St. Francis: True Authority

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Jeremiah 18:18–20;
Psalm 31:5–6, 14, 15–16;
Matthew 20:17–28

“It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be  first among you must be your slave.” —Matthew 20:26–28

As we see in today’s Gospel, Jesus had to deal with his followers jockeying for positions of power. He tries to show them how the Christian life must be different from that of the pagan rulers around them—and indeed from some of the religious structures in his tradition.

Francis emphasized this point too, writing it into his Rule and even ceding leadership of his own community to others.

All the friars without exception are forbidden to wield power or authority, particularly over one another. Our Lord tells us in the Gospel that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them (Matthew 20:25). That is not to be the way among the friars. Among them whoever wishes to become great shall be their servant, and whoever wishes to be first shall be their minister (Matthew 28:26–28), and he is their servant. Let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest (Luke 22:26).

Servant leadership continues to be a difficult concept, perhaps because many business and political organizations elevate power and authority to ends in themselves. Jesus makes it clear that if we follow his way, we need to embrace his model of humility. The best way to do this is to remind ourselves that all power belongs only to God.


You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and your deeds are
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High,
You are almighty.

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Submitted by Carolyn Gradert (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 08:29 AM


I love the content/lessons. But I’m 71 years old reading on a cell phone and having difficulty due to the contrast of the light and the font. Just a suggestion to find a font not so “fine”. Perhaps a little more with bold for the eyes. Thank you for your daily reflections. They are great.

Submitted by R. B. (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 09:44 AM

In reply to by Carolyn Gradert (not verified)


If you are on an iphone you have the ability to adjust the brightness and font to bold right in your hands . Click on settings ; scroll down to display & brightness . Use your finger to slide the bar to the brightness you prefer . Then scroll down to text size and tap to switch text to bold if that is your preference . Hope this helps .

Submitted by Rita (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 09:57 AM


Love today's prayer! The clericalism amongst cardinals, bishops & priests is a twisting of Jesus's message. I Pope Francis needs the College of Cardinals to re-establish policies & procedures within the Catholic religion to reflect Jesus's way. I fear it won't happen in my lifetime but it must happen for our church to survive.

Submitted by Dee (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:12 AM


The Pope MUST call these radicals on their twisted teachings. There appears that the RADCIALS in the Catholic Church do as they please. Is it any wonder that we are losing once faithful people. These radicals are the same as the Hate filled politicans. How sad for the Catholics that wish to practice the word of God.

Submitted by William Reynolds (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:17 AM


Listening to NPR news I was troubled to hear a Catholic speaker claiming that you can't be a Democrat and be a Catholic.

There are some who say that out there; but, which party is perfect? None of them! While being against abortion, one party also is against poor suffering immigrants. I am independent because I can’t be 100% for any party. I believe it is wrong for us to be told that we are not allowed to be of a certain party. Our pastor who is a canon law educated priest, said we are not bound to be with a certain party.

Submitted by Sharon (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:31 AM


I am even older than than R.B. and realize that younger people have no idea of how important it is to use a darker font that can be read by all ages. Reading on a cell phone is a challenage for older eyes in the first place. I second the motion for a darker font that could be easily read by all ages.

Submitted by Joyce Parry (not verified) on Thu, 03/04/2021 - 04:18 AM

In reply to by Sharon (not verified)


I agree darker font should be the default mode. I am sight impaired

Submitted by Pat (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 06:53 PM


If the Catholic Chuch is to survive, Women need total equality. Enough with patriarchal system!

Submitted by L T (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 07:59 PM


I am enjoying the readings and Lenten messages very much. I also struggle with the contrast and wish the font was darker. Adjusting brightness, text size and boldness does not help. Thank you for the beautiful messages.

Submitted by Steve Leon (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 08:52 PM


Please, please, please cha get the font color to black so we can all read it easier.

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