The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem,
and Jesus went ahead of them.
They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them
what was going to happen to him.
“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 who will mock him,
spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death,
but after three days he will rise.”
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came to Jesus and said to him,
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him,
“Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, “We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The chalice 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 or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Day 2 in Mexico was a good one. I celebrated Mass in Spanish for the community, which was a great joy. There are 24 seminarians here and about 8 LaSallian brothers joined us for Mass. We interviewed two candidates during the day and each interview went well. I had the opportunity to play basketball with the seminarians and the rector. No one got hurt, so that was a success! Finally we had a beautiful Holy Hour and then took our seminarian, Emmanuel, out for a nice dinner.
Pentecost ended the Easter season and now we have entered Ordinary Time again. As I’ve said before, Ordinary Time does not mean that the time is ordinary. It comes from a Latin word that means “to count”. We are counting the weeks between Easter and Advent. We are in the 8th week (of 34 weeks) of Ordinary Time. So there are only 26 weeks before we begin Advent! I’m sure you couldn’t wait to hear that.
Today, Jesus is telling the disciples what is going to happen to Him when they reach Jerusalem. He was trying to prepare them for the worst. As we know, it seems that only John, the beloved apostle, truly heard Jesus’ words because he stuck with Jesus during the passion and crucifixion. The others scattered in fear.
Not only did James and John not hear what Jesus was trying to tell them, but they had the audacity to ask to be placed on Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom. They were so focused on themselves, they could not see that Jesus was trying to prepare them for something very big. He was trying to teach them about sacrifice, selfless service, humility and surrender. They were focused on selfishness, pride and grasping for a place of honor in the kingdom.
We want to judge James and John. We want to put them down so quickly. Yet, isn’t there a little bit of them in each one of us? We don’t listen when Jesus is trying to speak to us. There is a part of us that drives us toward selfishness, pride and grasping for things that don’t belong to us. This is called concupiscence – a tendency toward sin in our fallen humanity.
So how do we grow in sacrifice, selfless service, humility and surrender?
1) Sacrifice – spend time meditating on Jesus on the cross. Allow His sacrifice to pierce deep into your soul. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.” (John 15:13) Are my thoughts, words and actions leading me to seek the good of others or am I focused on my own well-being?
2) Selfless service –Listen to His words in today’s Gospel, “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.” Look for opportunities to serve throughout the day. If your faith is struggling, volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Some people lord their power over others. Jesus tells us, “It shall not be so among you.” Am I waiting to be served? Or do I look for ways to serve others?
3) Humility – this comes from the Latin word “humus” meaning “of the ground”. I like to think that the humble person has their feet planted firmly on the ground. The humble person lives in the truth. They know who they are, the good and the bad, and they live out of that reality. How do we grow in humility? The first step is to live in the truth of our gifts. So we take inventory of the gifts and talents we have. But the second step is that we recognize that every gift comes from God. Nothing is ours. Every gift is meant to be given away.
4) Surrender – Jesus tells us, “If you want to save your life, give it away.” This can be frightening because we don’t know who to trust. Who is trustworthy of my total surrender? I have been hurt before when I have been vulnerable and trusted another person. Jesus is the only person that will never let us down. He is completely trustworthy and therefore worthy of our complete surrender. And as we heard yesterday, when we surrender everything to Him, He will repay us 100 times more in this life, with persecutions, and give us eternal life in the next. That sounds like it is worth every cross that I have to bear and every suffering I have to endure. The Lord will give us immeasurable peace and joy in this life and eternal joy in the next.
Have a blessed day!
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