Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And 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.” But 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.” He 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.”
When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But 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. It will not be so among you, but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
- Matthew 20:20-28
A mother pleads for her sons—a favor of Jesus. Don’t all mothers plead for their sons. We want only the best for them and for this mom, she could think of nothing better than for them than to be right next to Jesus for all eternity. Jesus politely declines; it isn’t his decision to make. But if you want to be great, be a slave to your fellow man.
In the next passage of Matthew, Jesus walks on, stopping only to heal two blind men sitting by the side of the road.
Serve and heal. A prescription for today and for our time. In reading the gospels, I think it is important to not only look at what Jesus says, but also what he does. Here he first stops the squabbling. Then he can turn the conversation into something constructive.
Writing this meditation has been very difficult for me. I can’t “see clearly” as the song goes. No bright, sunshiny day. How do we heal our sin sick soul? our blindness? How do we serve in a way that can help our fellow man in any meaningful way?
This is the dilemma that faces each of us, and it must not end up ripping us further apart. And that brings us back to our mission: heal and serve. Every day, every way. It will no doubt be different for each of us, but I will pray for you, and I hope you will pray for me. Together we can make a beautiful choir and end our lives in peace and harmony with God and his son. No matter where we find our seat.
Musical Reflection - I Can See Clearly Now - Jimmy Cliff
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who are reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - Easter Vigil BCP pg. 290 - 291