1st Reading: 2Cor 4:7-15
Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So, death is at work in us, but life in you. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
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.”
GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT: “All the baptized persons are participants in the divine life of the Trinity through sanctifying grace, the grace of justification which incorporates one into Christ and into his Church” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 263). The grace of God is abundantly upon us. Even when we face difficulties, problems and challenges. St. Paul says, where sin abides grace super abides (Rom 5: 20). We are the clay and God is the potter (cf. Isaiah 64: 8). We need to allow God’s grace to work in us. The faith we have received cannot be taken for granted. We need to nurture and make it to mature in order to stand firm during many trials and tribulations of life. St. James, the Apostle of Jesus, stood by his Master and followed him without making compromises in his life. Am I ready to stand by my Master and live fully the Baptismal promises?
Prayer: Lord, may we courageously witness to Christ till the end of our life.
SHARERS IN HIS CUP: The disciples have very little understanding of what Messianic kingdom entails. James and John seek the place of prominence after Jesus has established his earthly kingdom. Jesus quickly moves to correct this notion. He asks them whether they are ready to share his cup. Unaware that the cup he means is suffering and death, they say Yes! Indeed, they will be ready for it most willingly when the Holy Spirit enlightens them of their true destiny after the resurrection of Jesus. The apostles willingly give up their life in imitation of their Master. James was the first to achieve martyrdom. He lost himself to find real life. Christian maturity is a movement from being self-focused to Christ-centered. Then, dying for faith becomes the realization of highest possibility of Christian life. Are we ready to share in “the cup of Jesus?” “We always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the greatest trials” (St Teresa of Avila).