MARCH 3. LENT. WK 2. WED. MT. 20. 17-28
Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’
When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
In today’s Gospel Jesus begins to make known the sufferings he will have to endure, together with what is involved in becoming one of his disciples.
He “took the twelve aside” and told them “The Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’
Yet despite the clarity of this information his disciples clearly did not comprehend what they were being told, as the mother of Zebedee’s sons brought them along and sought leadership roles in Christ’s “Kingdom!”
The other ten disciples were equally naïve, as they were “indignant” at the two brothers for asking for such roles, so nobody seemed to grasp what Jesus was trying to tell them; - that self-denial and self-sacrifice were prerequisites in his “Kingdom”.
Even today the majority of Christians still fail to understand the centrality of the Cross and Suffering in the Christian Vocation; - where we are called to make Reparation for Sin, in company with the sufferings of Christ; - via our own self-denial and self-sacrifice.
As the “Imitation” puts it: “Jesus today has any who love his heavenly Kingdom, but few who carry his Cross; - many who yearn for comfort; - few who long for distress. Plenty of people he finds to share his banquet, but few to share his fast!”
We give so much energy and time to “yearning” for the difficulties and trials of our life to be removed, that we forget these same difficulties; - at the heart of “our human condition”; - are the primary means by which we imitate Christ in “giving our life as a ransom for many!
‘The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’