MAY 26. Ord. time. Wk 8. b. Wed. Mk. 10. 32-45
The disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; Jesus was walking on ahead of them; they were in a daze, and those who followed were apprehensive. Once more taking the Twelve aside he began to tell them what was going to happen to him: ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans, who will mock him and spit at him and scourge him and put him to death; and after three days he will rise again.’
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’
When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called 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 become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
In today’s Gospel Jesus is teaching his disciples some of the fundamentals of being a follower but it is clear two of them, James and John, were not focused on listening to their teacher. He had just spoken very plainly and clearly, for the first time, about his coming Passion and death; - and they were focused on their own desires and needs.
It is easy to brush past this incident and say it has little value, but is that true? When our focus is on our own desires experience tells us that our focus moves away from our spiritual life and the Spirit of the World is able to make itself heard; - and that is what is happening here.
Jesus told his disciples, “They will condemn me to death and will hand me over to the pagans, who will mock me and spit on me and scourge me and put me to death; but after three days I will rise again’; - and how did James and John respond to this information? They asked ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory’??
This clearly made the other disciples somewhat indignant, that two of their own were making it plain they wanted to have first place among Christ’s followers; - but Jesus was quick to point out that “looking after ourselves” had no place among those who professed to be his disciples.
“Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
This is an important teaching for anyone who wants to live a spiritual life; - we are called to the Imitation of Christ; - which requires we be humble. and focus on care and service of others!
Gospel Acclamation cf.Mt11:25
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.