Jesus punctuates His parable on service today with the line: “When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say, ‘We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty’” (Luke 17:10).
This brings my thoughts to the late secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Jesse Robredo. On August 18, 2012, he died in a plane crash off the shores of Masbate Island. On my last trip to Legaspi, a friend of mine volunteered to bring me to Robredo’s graveyard. His resting place has become one of the prides of the city. Mention his name and the people’s demeanor suddenly changes into one of fond reverence. Jesse was a people’s man. He was fond of wearing casual polo. When he was town mayor, he went around wearing shorts and slippers.
In contrast, during the last State of the Nation Address of the President, senators, congressmen and women turned the event into a red-carpet circus. During interviews, they spoke not of their programs but of their fashion designers and the inspiration for their gowns. When you looked at Jesse Robredo, he hardly looked “honorable,” but people honor his memory deeply.
One insightful line goes, “It is not the title that gives a man honor. It is the man who gives honor to the title.” You want to become a true man or woman of honor in this world and in the Kingdom? Throw away your lust for titles. Do not fuss about vain recognition and applause. Give yourself away in love. GK Chesterton once wrote, “The reason why angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly.” Do not take yourself too seriously and serve with joy and serenity even in anonymity. “When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say, ‘We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty.’” Remember, it was pride that turned angels into devils. It is humility that turns men into angels. Fr. Joel Jason