Daily Gospel Reflection - Feast of Saint James, Apostle
Bishop Robert Barron
Feast of Saint James, Apostle
Gospel: Mt 20:20-28
The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today in our Gospel, the mother of James and John asks Jesus on their behalf for high places of authority in his kingdom. Ah, there is the voice of ambition. Some people don’t care at all about money or power or pleasure—but they care passionately about honor. A lot of people can identify with James and John. They want to go places; they want to be movers and shakers in society. Perhaps a number of people reading this reflection are filled with these emotions.
But Jesus turns the tables on them: “You do not know what you are asking.” He is indeed a King, and he will indeed rule Israel, but his crown will be made of thorns, and his throne will be a Roman instrument of torture.
And so he tries to clarify: “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” The key to honor in the kingdom of God is to drink the cup of suffering, to be willing to suffer out of love, to give one’s life away as a gift. Look at the lives of the saints. It is not about aggrandizing the ego, but emptying it out.