Matthew 20: 17-28
Lord, though I cannot see you with my eyes, I believe you are present to me now, in my innermost being, and that you know me far better than I know myself. I also know that you love me much more than I love my own self. Thank you for loving and watching over me, though I don’t deserve your love. In return, I offer you my sorrow for my sins and my hopes to love you more each day. As I begin this Lent, dear Lord, help me to open my heart to you. Enlighten my mind and open my eyes to you. You want to teach me what you hold as valuable in this world, and how to keep my heart set on heaven. I ask you to purify my heart and make it more like yours! Here I am, ready to do your will.
Lord, wean me away from dependence on human honors and approval.
1. Seeking the
Desire for Recognition. James and John rub shoulders with that
temptation that the devil puts before every apostle: “What’s in it for me, Lord?” We start out our
apostolic work with purity of intention, but if we are careless, it soon becomes “purely attention.”
That is why we should always be willing to submit our work to the approval of the proper ecclesiastical authorities. Christ steered clear from all power grabs and squabbles. John would alert Christ, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Christ simply replied, “Do not prevent him … for whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:38-9).
2. Christ is Never Discouraged:
Christ has just told his passion to his apostles, and had it weighing heavily on his heart. Drowne by their own fascination for recognition, they were completely oblivious to Christ’s sufferings. He doesn’t let himself get discouraged, though. Rather, he gently helps them to look beyond themselves and to follow his lead of self-giving to the point of death.
3. Putting Others First:
Exaltation is a Real and Effective Love for Christ and Souls. “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:27). Human recognition is passing. It doesn’t even last us a lifetime. Even in heaven, human recognition will be useless— because our eyes will be fixed on God, not on each other or ourselves. However, we do know by faith that God will reward us in heaven according to our merits. He will exalt us for serving others, especially when we bring others to love and serve him. Am I convinced of this? What ephemeral honors am I hankering after? How can I put Christ and serving him first in my life?
Conversation with Christ:
Dear Jesus, I compare myself with others. It's easy for me to find or imagine my superiority. I ignore you and your great goodness. I forget that everything I have comes from you and that I can't claim credit for any of my qualities and virtues although I would like to. Help me to keep this truth in mind so as toI may have an attitude of genuine humility in my heart.
I will pray a special prayer for humility every day this week.
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