Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Gospel Reflection on Mark Chapter 10: 32-35
I just posted this new reflection on A Place to Explore Your Call to be a Catholic Priest website!
Feel free check it out.
One of my favorite Gospel stories from Mark is about James and John approaching Jesus about their seats in Heaven. They say; “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you. Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." Jesus replies, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to him, "We can." Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give, but is for those for whom it has been prepared."
The ten other apostles became indignant at the brothers. Jesus then says, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mk 10:35-45)
This Gospel account speaks to all of us in a very special way! Just like the disciples, we always feel like we have to jockey for position in high places. We feel the need for power. We have a desire to be better than everyone else around us. James and John were concerned with power! They wanted glory! They asked Jesus about this, and His answer was not what they expected! Jesus told them that yes they would be able to drink from the same cup that He was, and be baptized with the same water, but He told them also that in order to have power and glory, they would have to go through pain and suffering. This truly reflects the saying that with great power” comes great responsibility! Before you gain power, you must prove that you are worthy of it. Jesus would not be the true Son of God if He did not fulfill the responsibility He received from His Father! “ You who wish to be great among others will be the servant among them, and whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all!” This is exactly what Jesus' mission was! He has come down, not to be served, but to serve! Being the slave of all meant that He was ridiculed, beaten and gave up His life for us on the cross. Only after He rose from the dead was He glorified!
Another message in this Gospel is this; do not try to out do each other! Do the best that you yourself can do! Do not try to gain power over your brothers and sisters! Be humble and modest! This however is strange in our world! It is strange because all over the world people are trying to prove that they are better than they really are! They try to be popular, smart, cool, funny and powerful. “When the disciples had heard Jesus' reply to James and John, they became indignant!” They became jealous. They wondered why they had not thought of asking Jesus first. We get so wrapped up in our desire for power that we lose the person that God made us to be. Therefore, we should only strive to be the best that we can truly be. We should not try to be better than we are. We can only do our very absolute best and that is all!
Early in the school year, I was struggling with Spanish. This was my second year of taking the class and I still couldn’t get it. I began to get discouraged. I wanted to give up. I just wanted to quit. I thought I would end up failing the class and have to drop it. I found out that I was trying way too hard. I realized I had to work really hard and do the absolute best I could. At the end of the first quarter, I ended up getting a C+! I turns out that doing the best I could was good enough. This is just what God wants of us.
People all over the world are ridiculed because they are not smart in school or in the work place. Some people are only trying to do their best. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Not everyone is perfect. So when you see someone today who is trying very hard to do their absolute best, but is not yet reaching a goal that they want to accomplish, tell them this, “Thank you for doing the best you possibly could.” That may be what they needed to hear. That is what Jesus is trying to tell us, to do the absolute best that we can, and nothing else.