Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
Gospel Mt 20:17-28
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day." Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Too many conversations at home go like this:
"Are you listening?"
"Of course" (with my head still buried in my phone, laptop, tv)
"What did I say?"
"Eh...umm, (puts device down) continue..."
Lets roll back 2000 years to today's Gospel: Jesus is headed to Jerusalem for a last time and makes the solemn declaration of his impending passion and death. It was not the first time but on that occasion Peter interrupted him with an objection. Now he is being interrupted again by James and John and their mom with an astonishing request to have them sit on his right and left (places of honor) In the coming kingdom.
"Are you listening?"
"What was I saying?"
Jesus is talking about suffering, death and random and they are thinking 'right' and 'left', and per other gospel accounts "who is the greatest?" I guess we try to blot out what we don't want to hear: Suffering, death. Say, Jesus,...can you repeat the beatitudes again? I like those 'blesseds'.
"Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave."
This is hard for people with a 'greatest' mentality, who can only think about rising to the top in order to get, rather than give. This is counter to our drives and our ambitions but it is the only way to the places of honor in the kingdom of heaven.
Lent calls us to the humility of a servant just as our Lord, "the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Lent calls for transformation.
May our hearts be humble
May His cup be ours
May His cross be ours
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.