The disciples were on the road going up to Jerusalem, with Jesus walking in the lead. Their mood was one of wonderment, while that of those who followed was fear. Taking the Twelve aside once more, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him. “We are on out way up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him, and finally kill him. But three days later he will rise.” Zebedee’s sons, James and John, approached him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to grant our request.” “What is it?” he asked. They replied, “See to it that we sit, one at your right and the other at your left, when you come into your glory.” Jesus told them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I shall drink or be baptized in the same bath of pain as I” “We can, “ they told him. Jesus said in response, “From the cup I drink of you shall drink; the bath I am immersed in you shall share. But sitting at my right or my left is not mine to give; that is for those for whom it has been reserved.” The other ten, on hearing this, became indignant at James and John. Jesus called them together and said to them: “You know how among the Gentiles those who seem to exercise authority lord it over them; their great ones make their importance felt. It cannot be like that with you. Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest; whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all. The Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve – to give his life in ransom for the many.” ( Mk 10:32-45)
Introductory Prayer: I come before you Christ to know you more. There is so much that I have still to learn about you and I know that, as I learn it, my love for you will increase. This is my great hope and I am sure that it is also yours. Speak to my soul without the noise of words. You created it, enlighten it. Enkindle in it the fire of your love so that I will walk toward you and you alone through all the activities and all the challenges of every day. May my love for you compel me to imitate you more closely today.
Petition: Lord Jesus, may my love for you be selfless so that I may strive to be a contemplative and conquering apostle of your love without looking for my personal gain.
1. James and John, the Sons of Thunder, full of ambition and passion, approach Christ. They are there to ask for it all! They provoke an answer from the Master. “You do not know what you are asking,” Christ tells them.
When they agree to drinking the cup of suffering that is Christ’s, he agrees to share it with them but that is all that he will share. In other words, Christ points out to them the only thing that is important, the only concern that should be theirs, the only ambition that should be in their hearts: to imitate the Master.
2. The ambition in the hearts of James and John and their boldness in approaching Christ with their petition, are signs of their passionate hearts. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, a passionate heart is a good thing, the first gift that God gives to someone whom he wants to love him in an intense way. Yet, those passionate hearts should be solely and entirely directed to the imitation of Christ and be indifferent to every other concern, whether that be a place in the Kingdom or earthly recognition. Christ clarifies this for all his Apostles and every soul that wishes to follow him: if we want to imitate him, if we want to drink of his cup, we must serve and not be concerned with being served. The passion of our hearts is to be expressed in love for others and not for ourselves.
3. As we look into the Christ of the Gospels, this Christ that each day we learn something new about, do we see ourselves reflected as in a mirror? Each of us should hear Christ inviting us to a complete identification with his life, his way of living, his way of loving, to drink the cup, to love as he has loved, to lay down our lives for our friends. In this way, Christ shows us that sacrifice is the language of love. Let us take a minute to evaluate our lives: is the passion of my heart harnessed to love others through service and sacrifice? Do I see this as the most important manner to imitate Christ?
Dialogue: Lord Jesus, there is nothing that I want more than to identify myself completely with you and imitate your virtues. Yet, as I look at myself I see so many areas which are far from mirroring your example. Send your Spirit upon me to enlighten and guide my spiritual work. Grant me the grace of perseverance and fortitude to always be ambitious in my efforts to imitate you, to be holy and to do your work.Resolution: Identify and hold before your mind and heart today, one aspect of Christ’s life that you urgently need to follow. It may be some expression of sacrifice and service of others.