Today’s Gospel: Matthew 20:17-28
Optional Memorial of Saint Casimir
As Jesus and the twelve disciples head towards Jerusalem, there is a series of radical misunderstandings between the words that the disciples hear and the true meaning Jesus is trying to help them grasp.
Initially, Jesus tries to prepare them for His betrayal, horrific death, and subsequent Resurrection, but they really don’t get it. This misunderstanding is dramatized when the mother of the sons of Zebedee asks that her offspring have seats of honor beside Jesus in heaven.
A third, radical disconnect between Christ’s meaning and the disciple’s understanding occurs when Christ asks these two young men if they can drink the chalice that He is going to drink. They agree even though they haven’t got a clue what they are agreeing to. Even though they are clueless, Jesus warns them that they will indeed drink the very same chalice that He will drink but without the assurance of a place of prestige in heaven. Followers of Christ both then and today do not embrace the cross for a reward but in a spirit of humility and with a heart filled with love for their Savior.
A fourth disconnect occurs right after this exchange when the other ten disciples become indignant with the sons of Zebedee. Once again Jesus must teach them that their old way of thinking and behaving is not the way to live as His followers. The way of the world is based in pride.
“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.”
Jesus once again speaks explicitly about His upcoming death, driving home the central message of His own humility and obedience, which is an example for His disciples both then and in our own day.
Do I think and behave as a citizen of the world or as a brother or sister in the kingdom of heaven?
Lord, help me connect to the real meaning of your words by granting me the grace to understand.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Melanie Jean Juneau