Mass Reading & Meditation for February 27, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 20:17-28
2nd Week of Lent
The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus … wishing to ask him for something. (Matthew 20:20)
What bad timing! Jesus had just told his disciples about his coming passion, death, and resurrection. It must have been an emotionally charged moment, but that didn’t keep James and John’s mother from asking for a favor for her sons! Even the two brothers seemed oblivious as they eagerly offered to drink from Jesus’ cup, unaware of what that “cup” entailed! To make matters worse, the other disciples grumbled against them for trying to get special treatment.
But as awkward as it must have been, this woman’s timing was also providential. It gave Jesus the opportunity to teach the Twelve—again—that grasping for power is not a mark of a disciple. Greatness in God’s kingdom consists in self-giving, not in self-aggrandizement.
This is a lesson that everyone needs to hear over and over again, and Jesus had no problem repeating it. Like many of his teachings, Jesus knew that it wasn’t enough simply to state it once and then move on.
Why do we need so much repetition? It’s not that we are hard of hearing. It’s not that we are slow of mind. It’s that many of our fallen, sinful philosophies and expectations are so deeply held that nothing but continual reminders will dislodge them.
Jesus’ gospel is not just a minor variation on the ways of the world. It’s a whole new message. Rather than teaching revenge, he tells us to turn the other cheek. Rather than looking out for ourselves first, he asks us to give top priority to the poor and needy and defenseless. Rather than focus on our careers and comfort, he wants us to fix our eyes on heaven and on building his Church.
The good news is that we don’t have to figure this out all by ourselves. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to write his words on our hearts. Yes, we need to learn all that Jesus taught. But we also need the Spirit to bring these truths to life for us. He alone has the power to transform our thinking so that we can become more like Jesus!
“Lord, help me to train my mind so that I can experience your transforming power!”
Jeremiah 18:18-20; Psalm 31:5-6, 14-16