They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, 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; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles;they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For 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. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’s Gospel reading serves as the third occasion that Jesus predicts his own death and suffering. He describes in great detail the betrayal and humiliation he is to endure though his own crucifixion. The ignorance of the disciples is also highlighted in their inability to overlook their own ambitions and hear the importance of what Jesus is saying. The disciples are solely concerned with their position of power next to Jesus rather than understanding his message. Jesus explains that true greatness does not entail holding positions of power, but rather humbling ourselves in service to others.
The last line of the passage serves as an invitation to join Jesus in a life dedicated to serving others. Are we willing to overlook our own desires and ambitions to put the needs of others before our own? How can we live as God truly intended, in the service of others?
—Kara Petit is a member of Loyola Academy’s newest alumni – the Class of 2015. She will be attending Xavier University in Cincinnati in the fall.
Lord, we search for true success. We seek the same for our families. You have given us the pathway to fulfillment. “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” May our choices in how we spend our time follow your call to greatness.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
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