While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.”
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”
But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The mother of James and John is real. She sounds like my mom.
My mother always desires what is best for me. Their mother observes and understands the influence this man, Jesus, has on her sons, and from the depths of her heart, she longs for her boys to stay close to Jesus – a prayer of many mothers.
Consider Jesus’ words, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”
His response avoids an authoritative Yes or No; the answer to the mother’s request is held in our freedom to choose to follow him. Earlier in the passage, Jesus tells them what will happen to the Son of Man in Jerusalem. Is this really what James and John desire?
In the season of Lent, we have many good desires – pray more, fast more, give more – all with the desire to right our relationship with God and others. The way of Lent is the way of the cross. Do my desires for peace, joy, and love lead me to the cross?
—Alan Ratermann is an English teacher and Director of Ignatian Service Programs at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri.
What would you have me do this Lent, Lord?
Give up chocolate or soda or alcohol?
Save my pennies and dimes and dollars?
Or, just maybe, I drink the cup. I follow your lead. I offer my life.
I pray, I fast and I give.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!