While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.”
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes 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 a ransom for many.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Just as the mother of the sons of Zebedee expected her sons to be at Jesus’ right and left, we, too, expect instant gratification for our work. Our culture has us turn the ego up, drowning out the quiet voice of God. We take for granted the very spirit that sustains us while telling God that “I know what is best for me.” In this gospel, Jesus reminds us of the essential characteristic of humility we must possess. He asks us to quiet our ego so we may see the subtle ways he is showing his love for us. Our expectations of our God, families, friends, and even self can lead us to isolation.
Today, reflect on the unexpected moments of the day and realize how God is constantly drawing you closer to him. All we need to do is pay attention.
—Mary Catherine Koehler is a Campus Minister at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. She also co-moderates the school’s Ignatians for Peace and Justice and S.A.D.D. groups.
Lord, if I only focus on my abilities and my opportunities, I can become self-centered. If I dwell on my shortcomings and the brick walls that stand in my way, I can feel defeated. Lord, help me to remember that each talent is your gift to me. And each challenge an occasion to lean on your mercy and to trust in your everlasting faithfulness.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!