Today’s gospel is the same gospel story of the more familiar version from St. Matthew. But in St. Matthew’s version of the gospel, the one who approached Jesus to talk to him about having places of honor beside Jesus was the mother of the brothers James and John. In both stories Jesus Christ’s response is the same – “You do not know what you are asking for, can you drink of the same chalice that I will drink?” I believe if they only knew what Jesus was speaking of at that time, they would not readily say yes, because what Jesus was speaking of was the bitter cup of suffering that he had to endure for the salvation of His people.
Brothers and sisters, let us be reminded that following Christ is not about having honors and rewards here on earth; it is not about having power and authority to lord over other people. It is more about letting go of comforts and pleasures for the sake of others. James and John most probably have the earthly idea of what glory is. Their notion of glory in God’s kingdom is limited to what they know about earthly kings and glories. That was probably what the other disciples thought as well, that was why they got indignant or annoyed – maybe they thought that the brothers were trying to pull a fast one on them.
Brothers and sisters let us always remember that being a follower of Jesus means being his servant and being his servant means being servant to all. So in all things that we do, in living our lives as Christians, let us not so much focus on what we can get for ourselves but more on what we can give for others – I believe this message was known to John F. Kennedy when he said: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
As we continue to live our Christian lives, let us always be ready to be a servant – to suffer a little, to let go of comforts for the sake of others – to truly help and build God’s Church on earth. That is where our greatness will truly come from! We may not get much out of it materially but being one with Jesus and journeying with Him to heaven is in itself already a reward that for sure will bring us to glory.