FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
March 3, 2021
Second Wednesday of Lent
WORD of the DAY
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 20: 17- 19)
How shall I live this Word?
Jesus and his disciples are going up to Jerusalem. It is an uphill road not only physically, but also spiritually. The hour of the Passion is approaching. The discourse the Teacher has to give to His chosen ones is very difficult. That is why he ‘takes them aside’ and speaks to them of the torture and death He will have to face in Jerusalem. But His very close and intimate followers do not understand what is happening. Suffering does not agree with their idea of the Messiah. At this point, the request from the mother of Zebedee’s children rings out of tune and out of context. She wants to get the first place in the Kingdom of God for James and John. Even the mother, like the disciples, not only does not understand the drama of Jesus’ message about His coming passion and death, but she speaks to the personal ambitions of her children. When Jesus insists on service and self-giving, they continue to ask for first places in the Kingdom. Despite living together with Jesus for several years, they have not renewed their way of seeing things. They look to Jesus with the gaze of always, of the past. They want a reward for following Him. These same misunderstandings and tensions existed in the communities of Matthew’s time and still exist today in our communities. Jesus reacts firmly: “You do not know what you are asking!” The Teacher sees with the clarity of the prophet what is about to happen to Him. He wants to communicate this inner vision of His that anguishes Him, but He finds Himself facing the wall of incommunicability. His own still cannot think about the mystery of the cross.”
Do not forsake me, O LORD; my God, be not far from me! Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my salvation! (Ps 37: 22-23)
The Voice of Cardinal Martini
The evangelist seems to want to encourage us by saying that it took the apostles some time to understand. Jesus was loved by them, He was in their midst, indeed He went ahead of them, and they could not but follow Him. They feel an intense attraction for Him, but in terms of truly understanding the heart of the mystery there was still a long way to go and the journey was extremely tiring.
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