In yesterday’s Gospel from St. Matthew, Jesus makes his third prediction of his passion, telling his disciples that they are on their way to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be handed over to those who will condemn him to death.
At the Mass I attended yesterday, the priest observed that Jesus predicts his passion for the third time because the first two times didn’t get the point across to his disciples. They didn’t get it.
And they don’t get it this time either. Immediately following Jesus’ third prediction of his passion, Jesus is asked for the sons of Zebedee to get seats at his right and left hand. Mind you, the request is not that they share in his suffering, only that they share in his glory. It is not a piece of the cross they wish to carry, only seats in the kingdom they wish to sit at. The disciples’ mother, who makes the request on their behalf, skips right past the passion to what comes afterward.
I think it is too easy for us to listen to this Gospel passage and make fun of the disciples and thier mother for their request. But aren’t we much the same? Incredibly anxious to share in the joys of the kingdom with Jesus….and not quite so anxious to share in the cross.
But as for Jesus, so too for us. There is no resurrection without the crucifixion. No sharing in the glory of the kingdom without paricipating in the suffering of Christ.