July 25, 2008
Friday of the sixteenth week in ordinary time
Matthew 20: 20-28
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 servant, and whoever wishes to be first 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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before you wanting to grow in my knowledge of you and wanting to grow in love for you. I want to show my love by truly loving others as you have loved me. My falls are many, yet I trust in your grace never to stay down and always to get up. I trust that your mercy will change my heart. So I stand before you, ready to listen to your words and ready to unite myself more perfectly to your most holy will.
Petition: Holy Spirit, bless me with a meek and humble heart.
1. A More Perfect Union Power and prestige – to what extent do these control our thoughts, desires, time and effort? Power and prestige do not corrupt our soul unless we seek them. If we seek to possess creatures, they will possess us. We should see all creatures merely as means that we can use to glorify God and to attain heaven at the end of our lives. We should not dedicate our lives to possessing any creature; rather, we should bend our knees and pray that God will possess us. We should be consumed by this one, holy desire – a more perfect union with God, our creator, redeemer, and sanctifier.
2. The Cup Jesus wants to know if we are willing to drink the cup he drank on Calvary. In a certain sense, this is the test for each and every one who wants to be his disciple. Jesus said that, in order to follow him, we must first deny ourselves and take up our cross. He wants us to see clearly that, if we are to be his friends, we must identify ourselves with him. To do this we must spend time in prayer, we must delve into Sacred Scripture, we must spend time with him in the Eucharist, and we must be people of the confessional. As we grow in his grace, in a more perfect union with Jesus, we will grow in our appreciation and desire for the cup – because that is what Christ desired.
3. Humility Elevates Our Souls The cup we are called to drink is the cup of humility, the cup of being a lowly servant. Mary said to the angel Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Christ said he came not to be served, but to serve. This is completely contrary to our fallen nature and to the ways of the world. Our fallen nature rebels against such foolishness. Yet we know deep down that God can work only in a soul that is humble, that pride is the playground for Satan. It does us immense good to delve into the radical humility of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. See what they did to him in Gethsemane, in the Praetorium with the whip and the thorns, along the road to Calvary, and on the hill of Calvary. Did our Lord fight back? Rather, wasn’t our Lord humble? Do we really want to be a servant of God and others?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, how can I be a lowly servant, ready, willing, and able to drink from your cup? In your humility you want me, a lowly sinner, to share in your work of redemption. Open my heart to your life, death and resurrection.
Resolution: Today I will embrace the cross with love and fidelity.
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