Faith Daily | 8 March 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p484
Remember, O Lord,
what you have wrought in us
and not what we deserve,
and, as you have called us to your service,
make us worthy of our calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 20: 17-28
17 While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, 18‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; 19then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.’
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. 21And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ 22But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’* They said to him, ‘We are able.’ 23He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’
24 When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rev’d Jane
Every parent wants the best for their children, whether it be winning the lead role in a play, achieving the top score on an exam, or to be seated beside Jesus in his kingdom. Just like the billions of other parents around the world, the mother of James and John was ambitious for her sons and, as a parent, I can relate to that. Surely if I could see a way to help my children get ahead by asking a question I would do so. It’s a very human thing to do.
I can also relate to the disciples’ feelings of resentment towards the mother and her two sons. I’m sure that many would complain of ‘undue influence’ if an outsider intervened attempting to obtain a promotion for family members. But the disciples were surely not just angry because the brothers were being selfish. They were angry because they wanted to be prominent. This was not righteous indignation; this was jealous, envious indignation. Jesus knew what was going on throughout all of this and he patiently and calmly sought to teach them a lesson, the lesson of self-sacrificing service. As followers of Jesus, we too need to display the spirit of self-sacrifice. What does it mean to have a self-sacrificing spirit? Simply put, it means that a person is willing to give up his own interests in order to help others. In a sense, it is the opposite of selfishness.
The question that Jesus asked James and John is one that he addresses to us all. He asks how committed we are to his way of life, to the values he lived by and died for. Like the mother of James and John, we often ask the Lord for something in prayer. Today’s gospel reminds us that the Lord also asks us for something; he asks us for nothing less than ourselves; he asks us to give ourselves to him as he gave himself to us on the cross.
allow me to serve others with a joyful heart;
never keeping score;
never expecting to receive.
Allow me to give of myself,
to give of my talents and of my goods,
to give of my time and of my energy,
to give of my heart and of my soul.
Allow me to serve others as you serve,
with gentleness, compassion, and tenderness,
never diminishing the worth of another,
choosing to extend mercy to the broken-hearted,
like you have repeatedly shown it to me. Amen.