Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Pilgrimage – 2nd Week of Lent – Wednesday – Matt 20:17-28
After forming the Apostles over a period of several years, Christ leads them towards Jerusalem and His Passion; it is a stressful time that leaves the disciples “amazed” and the crowds “afraid” (Mark 10:32). Taking the disciples aside, Christ, with astonishing precision, describes the details of His passion including His “trial” by the Jewish leaders, the scourging and Crucifixion by the Gentiles and His Resurrection after three days.
Rather than prayerful sorrow for Christ’s coming ordeal, the mother of the “Sons of Thunder”, James and John, kneels before Christ and then selfishly asks Christ to “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Instead of a harsh rebuke for her ill-timed demand to glorify her sons (Christ has just told them He will be killed), Christ addresses James and John, probably because they have put their mother up to the request. Christ patiently confirms their ignorance and asks if they can “drink the chalice”; this is a mysterious reference to His Crucifixion. Christ confirms they will indeed “drink my chalice”, a reference to their own suffering (James is martyred and John is exiled), but defers to the Father’s Will as to how each will be rewarded.
The 10 other Apostles are indignant at James’ and John’s desire to be honored by Christ above them. Christ, aware of their anger, summons the Apostles and rebukes their desire for honor. Comparing their desires for glory to the lust for power of the Gentiles, Christ directs the disciples to instead model their behavior on Him and aspire to be a servant and slave for the salvation of others.
1) Despite forming the Apostles for three years and clearly describing His imminent betrayal, torture and murder, the Apostles selfishly vie for honor. Be amazed at Christ’s merciful patience.
2) In today’s Gospel, Christ’s reveals His coming Passion and Resurrection for the third time. During Lent, marvel at how Christ’s death and resurrection was essential in God’s Plan of Salvation (CCC 599-623); pray for Christ to help you grow in gratitude for His Passion.
3) The 10 Apostles’ anger at James and John is due to their envy of the honor the Sons of Thunder have requested. During Lent, review the 10th Commandment (CCC 2534-2557) and pray for Christ to help you eradicate the Deadly Sin/Vice of Envy of others.