“Command that these two sons of mine to sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.” James/John’s Mom
Do you get the impression that James and John’s mom wore the spiritual pants in the family? I like her confidence in Jesus’ authority. But why would two grown men allow their mother to do their beckoning?
Perhaps this is one of the reasons Jesus referred to His mother as “woman”. Mary was the new Eve and plays a great role in Jesus’ salvation plan. But how many times did Jesus say, “Whoever does not leave father and mother is not worthy of the kingdom of God.” (cf. Matthew 10:37; 19:5). Was this directed at James and John? Maybe. But more than likely, it has our name on it.
“We are all called to be saints. Don’t miss the opportunity.” Mother Teresa
Most of us get a mixed back of spirituality from our mom’s and dads. The last time Jesus was asked to command something was during the 40 days with the devil. “Command these stones to become bread” (cf. Matthew 4:3). The evil one was standing near by when James and John’s mom “commanded Jesus.” Perhaps, she was absent when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Thy will be done.”
Like their Mom, James and John have overestimated their role in God’s kingdom and their own spirituality. In their mind, they are primed to drink the cup of martyrdom. The remaining ten apostles reveal their immaturity becoming indignant about the idea of James and John sitting at Jesus’ right hand. None of the twelve are living saints. At this stage of their lives, if they were our heroes, they would surely disappoint us.
“Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant” Jesus
While the Apostle Paul never lived with Christ, he served Him for years. He wrote two pastoral letters to the Corinthians. Like the 12 apostles in today’s Gospel, the Corinthians are overconfident and proud (cf. I Cor 4:6-13). The best thing for the Corinthians to experience is a living Saint. So Paul gives them Himself. Paul pours himself out like a drink offering. The apostle writes: “Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.”
The twelve one day will learn the lesson of servant hood and join the ranks of saints who pour out their lives for others so God will be glorified. But not yet. They have yet to “sow in tears” (cf. Psalm 126). But one day they will sit on 12 thrones judging Israel (cf. Matthew 19).