2nd Wednesday of Lent

OK, today’s Gospel tells the famous story of the sons of Zebedee.  The main character in this story (except for Jesus, of course) is the “mother of the sons of Zebedee”.  I suppose that means she’s Zebedee’s wife.  For our purposes here, we’ll assume that’s the case, if only to make the prose a little simpler.

Anyway, Jesus is telling His twelve disciples that He’s going to Jerusalem where He will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes to be crucified and to be raised on the third day.  This is some pretty serious stuff and a lot for the twelve to absorb.  Matthew says that Jesus took the twelve off to the side to tell them this, apparently for their ears only.

But, somehow Mrs. Z. overhears the conversation, or maybe her sons tell her about it.  So, here she comes.  She wants Jesus to make sure her boys get to sit on his right and his left when He comes into His kingdom.  I have a feeling that she doesn’t understand that her sons have to die to join Him in His kingdom.

Now, we have two things going on here.  First, the Jewish mother, in her pride-fullness wants her sons to be special.  She wants them to be ahead of everyone else; not an uncommon wish for any mom.  She’s committing the sin of pride.

Then we have the other ten men who resent Mrs. Z’s implication that her boys are somehow better than them.  They’re angry at the two brothers.  Personally I think their anger is misplaced.  After all, who among us hasn’t been embarrassed at one time or another by our mother.  They always think their kid is best.  It’s just the way they are. I imagine the boys were thinking to themselves, “Aw, Mom.  Don’t you have somewhere else to be?”

Once again, Jesus takes the opportunity to remind everyone who was there, and to remind us, that the first shall be last.  Whoever humbles himself will be exalted and whoever exalts himself will be humbled.  He says this so often that I think we should really take it to heart.

We belong to a Catholic Church that teaches us over and over again that humility will go a long way toward getting us into heaven.  Lent is a good time to keep this in mind.

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