February 24, 2016

Gospel MT 20:17-28
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
“Behold, 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,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.”
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
“Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
We can excuse a mother for wanting the best positions for her sons. Whether on the football team or in the college admission’s office, this is what mothers do.
Before we are too hard on James and John for seeking the status of sitting at the right and left of Jesus in His Kingdom, we should consider that they were only the first of many in Christian circles who have aspired to higher positions.
The point of today’s gospel is to look more closely at what motivates us and the result of that motivation.
My life experience has been that when people truly love what they are doing, they usually rise to the top of their professions.
If you love helping others then you will most likely become a leader among those who also enjoy serving.
John, a staff member at My Brother’s Keeper, is one of the most enthusiastic, cheerful servants I have ever met. He truly enjoys helping people; his joy and love of service is contagious among the other volunteers.
As volunteers wait for their truck assignment, I regularly overhear them comment, “I hope I get to go on John’s truck.”
Love of service is an infectious condition of the Spirit, and John is spreading that love to whoever comes close to him.
“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant…”
John does not aspire “to be great,” yet, he is great in the eyes of all who serve with him.

“Uplift others and uplift yourself.” Unknown