Jeremiah 18: 18 – 20
Matthew 20: 17 – 28
Jeremiah had prayed for the people so that Yahweh would turn his wrath away from them. Yet they are not only ungrateful to him but have turned against him. They are even plotting his death. They consider that priests and sages will not lack in knowledge, inspiration an wisdom without him. They want to contradict him with his own earlier preaching. They want to listen to every word of his so that they might find fault against him.
We can learn some lessons for ourselves through the experiences of Jeremiah and Jesus. Both of them do not harbor unpleasant feelings such as anger, resentment, hostility, towards their torturers. Instead, they pray for them. Both of them seek strength and support from the Lord in their distressful situations. Jesus goes further in abandoning himself totally in the hands of the Father, ‘Into your hands O Lord, I commend myself’ as expressed in the responsorial psalm as well as on the Cross. This is an attitude of total trust in and surrender to the Father in heaven.
“It is from pain and our own limits that we best learn to grow, and from our own flaws surges the deep question: haven’t we suffered enough to decide to break old patterns?” Pope Francis, Homily, 25 May 2002. “Suffering is not a virtue in and of itself, but it can be virtuous, depending upon the way in which we deal with it.”
The mother of sons of Zebedee comes up to Jesus. She has a favor she desires and Jesus asks her what she wants. The woman is bold both in her behavior and her request. The woman told Jesus that she wants her sons to sit with Jesus in his kingdom, one at his right hand and the other at his left.
The other apostles also were with Jesus during this encounter. How do you think the other apostles reacted to this mother’s request? After all, what made her sons so special? What about them? Several of them had been with Jesus longer than her sons had. Notice: initially Jesus does not directly answer her question. Rather, he speaks of the difficult path that was before him. Then he tells the woman that it is not his place to name the people who would be on his right and his left. It will be his Father who will make that decision.
When the other disciples heard of this request, they were angry and indignant at the way Zebedee’s wife had asked for on behalf of her sons. Jesus used this occasion to teach his disciples. He calls all of them together and told them not to lord their call and authority over anyone. Rather, their primary focus should be on serving each other and the people they would be ministering to. Jesus wanted them to have the right motivation for their ministry. It was not to be about power and acclaim. Their ministry was to preach His word and to serve the people.
True service is not about power or acclaim. If our service or help to another flows from our love and our desire to help them, God also is there! Today what will we choose?
God bless. Have a blessed day.