First Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we too believe, and so we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 126:1-6
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb! May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy! He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Gospel: Matthew 20:20-28
Then the mother of the sons of Zeb’edee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Command that these two sons of mine may 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 to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at 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 men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
‘They were indignant . . . .”
When is the last time you felt indignant? Grumbled about someone else? Groaned about the expectations placed on you? Sometimes I find myself groaning in the mornings, just because I’m called awake before I’d like to welcome the day. Or possibly I’m grumbling about “so-and-so” and “How could this be?”
The mother of the sons of Zeb’edee dared to ask Jesus for her sons to have a special place in heaven. I don’t know about you, but part of me feels like “How COULD she?!” and another part of me feels like”Wow, I wish I had that courage, to approach Jesus and request something for my children.”
Jesus answered her request with a “No,” and not only “No,” but asked the brothers (and I presume all the apostles, who were gathered together), if they thought they could drink the cup, or in other words, “Can you handle what is to come?”
“Oh, sure we can, Lord!”
“You will. But the place in heaven is set by my Father. Still . . . you must follow me. Be a servant.”
And now the others grumbled and are indignant. Why? Are they mad now that Jesus made clear what they must do? Or mad that someone’s mother made an outlandish request? How often do we do that? How often do we groan about someone’s question, or idea, or dare I say admit, groan and grumble about what Christ has to say to us?
Yet we are to share in the cup—the suffering—of Christ. Serve. Follow Him to gain entrance to Heaven.
The path looks different for all of us, though we are called in love for love.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was called to serve the poorest of the poor, while Blessed Chiara gave her life in love as a witness to the joy we have in Christ, even being joyful through terrible illness and suffering. Saint Gianna gave her loving witness through marriage, family life, and professional life, never giving up on the unborn, even until her own death to save her unborn child. Still others, our peers, are following Christ by entering religious life, by living and working in the world but inviting friends to a Bible study or Mass, by standing up for life on their college campuses. Imagine all the amazing ways our sisters in Christ are living servant lives, following Christ!
Are you comparing your life to another, and grumbling about what you wish you had, or wish you could do in your heart, or like the apostles, judging and grumbling about what you don’t understand? How are you being called to lay down your life, and follow the incredible plan Jesus has for you?
Gina Fensterer is a wife, daughter, mother, friend, homeschooling mama and Colorado native. You can find out more about her here.