Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
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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.”
As I was preparing for morning Mass, I took a quick glance at a reflection on today’s Gospel passage. It read: “We can give this story a contemporary feel by taking it out of the ancient world and setting it in a high school basketball game. Jesus is the coach; his twelve disciples are the players. Just as the second half is about to begin, the mother of James and John comes up to Jesus and says, “You’re going to play my boys for the rest of the game, right? And when we win, I want to see them on TV holding the trophy, okay?”
I’m not sure what moms like this were called in the ancient world, but in the modern world they are called “Helicopter Moms.”
A daring command. A chilling response. “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” Pretty daring request, to say the least. “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” Pretty chilling response.
What does it take for an Apostle of the Lord to enter into Heaven? To live and die like the Lord. There are no special privileges for Apostles and disciples. In fact, the rules of engagement are entirely lopsided against them!
“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 sere and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
If you wish to sit at my right and at my left, then you must suffer like I do. This is how lives are changed and saved. This isn’t a death wish, it is a ransom being paid.
Of course, all of this goes against our human nature! Even to this day, I cringe at the thought of it. But, to give the Lord’s words another “contemporary” feel, let’s set it in New York City and on Wall Street. When stocks fall, our human nature tells us to sell, SELL!!!! But the experts tell us to buy, BUY!!! “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful” (Warren Buffett).
Easier said then done, right? Well, now you have an idea of what the Lord meant when He said, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first” (cf. Mt 20:16).
Tough times are not the time to doubt God’s love for me or question His mercy upon me. On the contrary, they are an indication of His burning desire to forge me into Alter Christus. (0)
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- Mt 28: 20