‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah; the priest will not run short of instruction without him, nor the sage of advice, nor the prophet of the word. Come on, let us hit at him with his own tongue; let us listen carefully to every word he says.’
Listen to me, O Lord,
hear what my adversaries are saying.
Should evil be returned for good?
For they are digging a pit for me.
Remember how I stood in your presence
to plead on their behalf,
to turn your wrath away from them.
Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve to one side and said to them, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will rise again.’
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’
When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants 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 as a ransom for many.’
[J]ust as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve
The role of the Christian is not to glorify himself but to serve as a witness to the world about the wonderful love of Christ. This means the Christian must be prepared to suffer tremendous amount of persecution. Positions of glory and honour are not to be sought after because they run counter to what the purpose of the role of the Christian.
Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of today that positions of honour are not the way of the Christian but instead suffering is often the main issue which we must face. The Zebedee brothers never could have imagined that their yes to drink the cup which Jesus was to drink was a cup of suffering. They indeed suffered for Jesus because of their belief in the Christian faith. What then allows us to continue to bear with this suffering?
It is the faith in the Lord that He will be present for us and will care for us. The suffering is tremendous but He will never abandon us. Suffering may involve pain either emotionally or physically but we must learn to channel this suffering towards God. It is difficult because not everyone can understand why any human being should be made to suffer. I would like to the think that this is to remind us of our need to rely on God and not abandon him. As we continue with our Lenten journey, let us not lose sight of what God desires of us but instead remain focused on the Cross of Christ.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the strength to stay close to you despite the troubles which we may face
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who provide relief to those in pain.