First Reading: Jer 18:18-20; Psalm: 31. R. v. 17b; Gospel: Mt 20:17-28
THE WAY TO GREATNESS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Too much ambition or desperation can neutralise the most important of all matters. When we are overly ambitious, even the sacredness of human life can become less important to us. Who could ever believe that James and John would be more interested about personal desires than being concerned about the imminent predicament that would befall Jesus? Over ambition is a blinder that conditions us to see only that which we desire while neglecting the concerns of those around us.
Although Jesus was not soliciting the pity or consolation of his disciples having announced his impending passion in Jerusalem. But at least a modicum of concern in the form of empathy should be expected. The immediate request of James and John after hearing of Jesus’ imminent passion revealed that what mattered to them at that moment was their ambitious desire and not the suffering of Jesus. To be insensitive to the plight of anyone causes more injury. Because it shows that the victim does not really matter. This can be very hurtful.
Jesus understood the imperfection of his disciples. He knew that James and John do not really know what they were asking. Jesus even had to calm the rest of his disciples who felt offended by the move of James and John. Although Jesus understands our own imperfection; but he believes we can act better. This is why Jesus is asking us to learn humility if really we want to achieve our lofty expectations. And humility entails that there times we have to forego our needs and desires so as to help or identify with the vulnerable and the helpless. In this period of Lent, when we decide to let go of some needs in order to alleviate the painful conditions of others, we stand on the side of Jesus. And this really is what Jesus wants from us.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to see that we can only be great by being humble to serve. Amen.