Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Philip Neri, Priest (1515-+1595) Patron Saint of Rome
Book of Sirach 36:1, 4-5a, 10-17, Psalm 79:8, 9, 11+13, & Mark 10:32-45
In today's three short paragraphs from the Book of Sirach, I counted no less than sixteen requests and demands of God. Several additional requests were also written in Psalm 79.
Afterward, we hear the Gospel narrative of Saint Mark. He is walking with the disciples following Jesus, and they are listening to Jesus tell them why He needed to leave, how He would suffer at the hands of the people in power during the days ahead. At that moment, I could almost taste Jesus' exasperation with James and John when they placed their demands on His shoulders. They said, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of You." Personally, with all that our Lord was about to experience, I, as one of his trusted disciples, would have at least asked what could be done to help Him or to take a different course of action. Anything except to ask of Him this enormous favor.
Yet, Jesus is so patient. I suspect He thought for a few moments and concluded, "they still don't get it; let me try again." His answer to their request was clear and direct, "Can you swallow what I will swallow? Do you have the stomach for it? Can you suffer with me? Can you allow your ego to die so others may know the Glory of God?"
In today's passage, James and John learn what we already know; that is, it is not easy to be a Christian. Being aware of all the graces God bestows us in this life sort of tempers the bad with the good and the good with the bad. Rather than asking for favors, as James and John do, we are to be pure followers of Jesus and loyal to His Holy Word, His promises to all of us, and for His unconditional love for us. Having said this makes us full-time Christians and obedient to God's Law.
Question of the Day: When you pray to Jesus, will you seek His help with humility and grace?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant to me, and all human beings, the grace necessary for salvation. Amen.