Did you answer Jesus’ question, “Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?” How did you answer? The question is meant to draw the answer ‘no’—No, you don’t give thanks. How does that sit with you? Does it leave you uneasy—with its talk of slaves and not thanking people for their service?

Additionally, the moral of the story is that you and I are to be like the slaves—we are to serve not on condition of receiving a gift. Is that attractive? Deflating?

Jesus was like the slaves. He is not asking us to do anything he did not himself do. Nor is Jesus asking us to do these things on our own. Jesus asks us to serve with him and like him. If you are drawn to this, then ask our Lord, in prayer, to choose you for the gift of this kind of humility in order that you may find your own life more patterned according to Jesus.

—Brad Held, S.J., a Jesuit of the Wisconsin province, is currently a theology student at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He has just come from 3 years of teaching at Red Cloud Indian School on the Holy Rosary Jesuit Mission in Pine Ridge, SD.