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Matthew 20:20-28

The Word of God

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour 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.'

Matthew 20:20-28
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus seems to ask, ‘Are you ready to endure hardship with the prospect of reward?’ only to go on to say to the brothers that they should be ready to endure even without any promise of what they covet. They had to ask, ‘Are we in this for God or for ourselves?’ True prayer will not allow us to shirk questions like these which hook out the truth.
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    • Jesus responds to an ambitious mother by explaining that the ways and values of this world are not those of God. This gospel challenges me regarding my own pride. Does selfish ambition ever get in the way of my service of God and neighbour. Do I ever lord it over others? Can I be a tyrant on occasion?
    • Jesus came not only to serve but ‘to give his life as a ransom for many’. The great saints were moved by the extremes to which Jesus went to demonstrate God’s infinite love for humanity. May I be similarly moved so as to express always my profound love and gratitude to God for what Jesus has done.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The mother of James and John wanted promotion for her sons. Their elevation would make her prominent too! Did Jesus smile sympathetically at her before warning her that in his kingdom, all human values are turned upside down?
    • Jesus is sensitive: he defends the two brothers against the other apostles. Then he broadens everyone’s perspective. He is saying: ‘You all want to be great? Fine! You will indeed become great – by serving others.’ And so it was. In my prayer, I let him ask me about my quality of service. This is what measures my closeness to him.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus challenges what may seem to be ordinary and reasonable expectations. Closeness to Jesus is no guarantee of promotion, status or human recognition. I ask Jesus to help me to let go of small ambitions.
    • The honesty of this mother’s approach enabled Jesus to answer her situation directly. I follow her example, speaking to Jesus clearly and frankly, listening for his clear and frank answer.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

    Active
    Default
    • Jesus challenges what may seem to be ordinary and reasonable expectations. Closeness to Jesus is no guarantee of promotion, status or human recognition. I ask Jesus to help me to let go of small ambitions.
    • The honesty of this mother’s approach enabled Jesus to answer her situation directly. I follow her example, speaking to Jesus clearly and frankly, listening for his clear and frank answer.