Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
(Jeremiah 18:18-20; Matthew 20:17-28)
As in yesterday’s gospel, today’s underscores the need for disciples to serve humbly. Coupled with the first reading, it indicates that their humility should run so deep that it might withstand treachery.
James and John’s mother sounds callous or, at best, foolish as she approaches Jesus for a favor. After he reveals the agony awaiting him in Jerusalem, she requests positions of privilege for her sons! But Jesus shows no outrage. Rather he asks if the two are ready to join him in suffering. When they say that they are, he tells them that he does not have the right to promise them anything. The passage indicates, however, Jesus’ displeasure with the rest of the disciples. When they display anger with the brothers for allowing their mother to do their bidding, Jesus tells them not to fret over positions of privilege. Rather they are to concentrate on how best to serve the Kingdom.
When we forget about what we might receive for doing good, we will find ourselves doubly rewarded. We will come closer to our remote goal of eternal life, and, wonderfully, we will receive temporal favors. These gifts come, again, after losing ourselves in serving the Kingdom.