We live in a world that seems to almost glorify authority. People compete with one another to be the best at just about anything you care to name. But, ultimately, what does ‘being the best’ really mean? If we separate ‘being the best’ from our relationship with Jesus Christ, it virtually loses all of its meaning as this ‘being the best’ is only a transitory reality. When we die we are simply dead and that, as they say, is that!

Jesus lived His life with complete authority over every situation in which He found himself. This does not mean that He had to exert His authority all the time. Sometimes true authority and power is found in the willingness to submit one’s life to the situation at hand, especially when we are talking about the will of God being present in that situation. The authority of Jesus characterises His whole ministry – even when under arrest and also in today’s Gospel it is evident that Jesus has more authority than His accusers.

What makes Jesus’ authority different is the way that He exercises it. He never exercises His authority for His own gain. It is always authority at the service of other people! This is true authority. All true authority finds its basis in the authority of the Father. It is a sharing of His authority over all of creation. As such, when we exercise authority it must be in the service of the people around us. It must always seek to advance the cause of the Kingdom of God here on earth. If the exercise of authority fails to do this, then it is being exercised incorrectly. It is being used for personal gain and will ultimately come to nothing! As St John tells us in his Gospel, without Jesus, we can do nothing! (Jn 15:6)

As we seek to follow Jesus, let us try to learn to exercise what authority that we have in the service of those around us. Let us choose to place our lives and all that they contain at the service of the love of the God who gave us everything we have in the first place.

How do I exercise the authority that I have in my life? Do I place my gifts and talents at the service of the brothers and sisters around me?

Jesus, help me to follow you more closely. Help me to be a faithful servant who learns to love first. Help me to see my gifts and talents as means by which I can serve your Kingdom of Love.