In this Sunday’s Gospel, we find two brothers who definitely want to be invited to the party but hesitate to get involved in the planning. Instead, they simply think about themselves and the benefits they could receive. That’s exactly the situation we see as James and John ask to be given seats of honor when Jesus enters his glory.
Somehow, they seem to miss the piece that Jesus’ glory will be preceded by great suffering. They forget to ask about their own participation in the preparation. Very surprised that their selfishness had led them to seek lofty ambitions, Jesus takes the opportunity to teach and asks them frankly, “Can you drink the cup that I must drink…?”
We are invited this week to reflect on that same question: What is that cup of suffering, of bitterness that I must drink today? This week? Can I drink it? Do I knock people down so that I might move up to a higher position, or am I able to humble myself and move out of the way so that others may receive the benefits?
How have I been able to look beyond my own selfishness and participate in the preparation for the Kingdom? Am I willing to give of myself totally without counting the cost?
Jesus sets the example for us loudly and clearly. “Those who wish to be first -- and given the places of honor -- must become the servant of all!”
Sister Michael Marie, CSFN