“If anyone wishes to be the first, he shall be the last and the servant of all” (Mk 9:35).
25th Sunday in OT, Cycle B-2021. 19 Sep 2021. Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 + James 3:16—4:3 + Mark 9:30-37.
In wooing the votes of the electorate, a candidate makes numerous promises to serve the interest of the electorate first, and to serve his interest last. But when in office, he serves first his interest, and serves last the interest of the electorate.
§3331 of the U.S. Code mandates every individual locally elected or appointed to a civil or uniformed service to take the following oath before assuming the office:
“I, AB, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office of which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
Nowhere is the phrase, ‘serve the public,’ in the wordy oath. No wonder, public service is ignored by public officials. In campaigns, the arguments are focused on personalities and qualities, not whether platforms serve public interest, rather than lobbyist interest.
Yet after the officials have turned to dust, and the dust has settled, the official who had served the public first and himself last is honored in history as the greatest. The official who had served himself first and the public last is noted in history as notorious.
It is time to demand public service from the elected and the appointed official. The swearing should be an “oath to serve,” and that oath should specify “ought to serve.” VSS
Picture credit: Top photo, Servi servorum, Jesus washes the feet of His apostles, by Catholic Pictures. Second middle photo, Caveat emptor, politics is compromise, by TeacherToolkit.co.uk. Third middle photo, Non serviam, by Mugurel on Pexels.com. Bottom picture, swearing-in oath. by Affidavit Services Canada.