March 15, 2017Wednesday, 2nd Week of Lent
1st Reading: Jer 18:18–20
Gospel: Mt 20:17–28
When Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve aside and said to them on the way, “See, we are going to Jerusalem. There the Son of Man will be given over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law who will condemn him to death. They will hand him over to the foreigners who will mock him, scourge him and crucify him. But he will be raised to life on the third day.” Then the mother of James and John came to Jesus with her sons, and she knelt down to ask a favor. Jesus said to her, “What do you want?” And she answered, “Here you have my two sons. Grant that they may sit, one at your right and one at your left, when you are in your kingdom.”Jesus said to the brothers, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They answered, “We can.” Jesus replied, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right or at my left is not for me to grant. That will be for those for whom the Father has prepared it.”
The other ten heard all this and were angry with the two brothers. Then Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations act as tyrants, and the powerful oppress them. It shall not be so among you; whoever wants to be more important in your group shall make himself your servant. And if you want to be first, make yourself the servant of all. Be like the Son of Man who has come, not to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life
It was diplomatic of Matthew, from whose account we read today’s Gospel reading, to ascribe to the mother of James and John one shameless request to Jesus. In Mark’s version, (Mark 10:32-34) James and John, not their mother, made the request that they be given special seats in heaven.
The impropriety of the request was glaring in the background of Jesus’ meditative exposition of his upcoming Passion. The Passion and resurrection were personal secrets Jesus could only confide to trusted friends. But the disciples’ selective attention only recognized the word “resurrection”, not the “passion”. Their minds grew wild about the prospect of holding important positions in Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus had to educate them to a different language. He said, “And if you want to be first, make yourself the servant of all”.
How painful it was for Jesus to realize that their hearts were not with him when he wanted a little sympathy from trusted friends. Jesus goes through the same pain each time we come at the foot of his cross primarily to do the shameless act of asking for self- enrichment.- Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.
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