They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles;they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
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.
This Gospel reminds me of the imagery of dining with Herod and dining with Jesus that a Jesuit friend uses to characterize the meditation on the Two Standards from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In response to the request by John and James, Jesus references the Gentile ruler lording over them. I can imagine James and John discussing positions of honor and esteem at one of Jesus’ upper room suppers. Jesus on the other hand will soon assume the role of servant/slave and wash the feet of the apostles at the Last Supper.
We often see competing values of honor and pride versus servitude and humility. Choosing the values of Jesus seems easy, but living the values can be a challenge. As we learn from this passage even those closest to Jesus struggled with understanding and living his message. How will servitude and humility be present in your life today?
—Jim Sweany is a Spiritual Director in the Ignatian tradition. He is associated with the Chicago Region Ignatian Volunteer Corps as a Spiritual Animator, reflector and Advisory Board Chair. He also directs the Spiritual Exercises for the SEEL program at Loyola University.
Lord, let me trust in your providential care. Free me from the fear of failure, from sinfulness and indifference. Give me insight to care for others and to serve rather than be served. Let charity, compassion, and hospitality be my gifts to those suffering. Let my thoughts and deeds as well as my motivation be lived out for your greater glory.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!