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Can you drink the chalice?

GOSPEL: Mt 20:17-28

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As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, 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, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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Jesus and the Twelve [disciples] are on their way to Jerusalem. For the third time, Jesus predicts his passion that will happen there, but the disciples are not paying attention, obsessed as they are with the thought that Jesus will declare his “kingdom” there, and that they will share his earthly glory. The mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, intercedes for her sons to Jesus, just like what Bathsheba did for her son Solomon before King David (1 Kgs 1:17). Jesus does not deny the honor and the glory to his disciples, but this glory is not an earthly one, and a far excellent one because it is given by God. And this is achieved by drinking “the cup” of suffering, that is, letting go of one’s ambition and taking the position of a slave so as to be able to serve. This is the position that Jesus takes, as described by Paul: “Though he was in the form of God, [Christ Jesus] did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave… Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil 2:6-7, 9).

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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