WEDNESDAY, 2ND WEEK OF LENT:
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.”
- James and John ask for a place of honour in the new kingdom, and Jesus talks to them about redemption. He asks them if they are ready to suffer with him. He uses the familiar Hebrew image of a chalice, which symbolises the will of God for an individual (cf Ps 16:5). The Lord’s is a bitter chalice, which will turn to a chalice of blessings (Is 51:17-22), for all men.
- Drinking the cup of another was a sign of deep friendship and of readiness to share a common destiny. It is to this intimate relationship that Our Lord invites those who wish to follow him. To take part in the glorious resurrection one has to share the Cross with him. Are you ready to suffer with me? Are you able to drink of my chalice with me? We can, replied the two Apostles.
- James died a few years later, beheaded on the orders of Herod Agrippa (cf Acts 12:2). St John underwent innumerable sufferings and persecutions for love of his Lord. He has called us too, and asks us as he asked James and John: ‘Are you ready to drink the cup’ — that cup which means giving yourself fully to the will of the Father – ‘which lam going to drink?’ ‘Possumus.’ Yes! We are ready! (Mats 20:20-22) is the reply of the sons of thunder. Are you and I really ready to carry out, in everything the will of our Father God? Have we given Our Lord our whole heart, or are we attached to our own self and to our own interests and comfort and self-love? Is there anything in our lives which is out of keeping with our Christianity, something which makes us unwilling to mend our ways? Today we are given a chance to see things straight (St. Josemaria, Christ is passing by, 15).
EXCERPT FROM F. FERNANDEZ-CARVAJAL, IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD, VOL. 2, NO. 15.1
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