29th Sunday Year B
The two brothers, James and John, claim to know what Jesus is about, and to be able to follow in His footsteps, but when the time came, far from drinking the cup with Him, they left Him to drink the bitter cup alone. We don't know in advance what the cup of life holds for us. We find out as we go along.This shows that the disciples eyes are still blind to reality. Later, they would, of course, follow the road Jesus had shown them; but this will be a long learning curve. Nevertheless, it would never have been easy to drink from the cup of sacrifice and suffering. Indeed, when the time came for Jesus Himself to drink from it, He shrank. Three times He asked the Father to remove it from Him: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by”. But then He added, “Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it” (Mt 26:39). And He did drink it. The Apostles didn`t know at this time that the Lord’s cup would be a very bitter one. Nor did they know their own weakness. Jesus, the Innocent One, chose to drink a very bitter cup. But, as we have seen, He didn't find it easy. Yet He drank it to the dregs; all this, out of love for us. Even though Jesus was without sin, He experienced weakness and temptation as we do. He understands our weakness. Hence, we should approach Him with confidence, knowing that He can and will help us.
To be able to follow Jesus along the road to Jerusalem, our eyes would need to be on what we can do in service rather than on what is going to make us richer or more highly regarded. Here also we should be aware of the temptation to wish to be seen to be doing good, rather than a genuine concern with doing good. To avoid this, a moment of honest reflection, whether what we are doing really helps those we are aiming to serve or are aimed at earning us esteem, is very important. We too can be sons of Zebedee, promising everything but really only for ulterior motives.
The desire to sit at the right hand of the Master dies hard, but the mixture of the stern negatives from Jesus and His constant support for the true way forward, can remove even the greatest of obstacles. Remember also, those who share the bitterness of His cross will also His Easter victory.
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