07 March 2007


Wednesday in the 2nd Week of Lent
Mt 20:17-28

Here is a typical mother: Mrs. Zebedee, the mother of James and John who are disciples of Jesus. She goes to Jesus and asks from Him a daring favor. “Promise me,” she says, “that these two sons of mine may one sit at Your right hand and the other at Your left in Your kingdom.” Notice the absence of any formalities or a polite tone in her request. No, it seems, it is a demand not a request, already a claim rather than an appeal.

But is there anyone of us who feels bad about Mrs. Zebedee? I do not think so. If there is, then I suppose we should change the definition of “motherhood”.

My mother is my first fanatic. She believes in me even when I myself fail to believe in my self. She always sees in me more than what others see, more than what I myself see in me. I am her hero. I am her angel. I am her best son in the whole world. Well, as regards “her best son in the whole world”, my mother does not have much choice because I am her only son. At any rate, what is true about her is true to almost all, if not all, mothers. And if she has the chance, she may also make the same request Mrs. Zebedee makes on Jesus today.

But, of course, there only two seats right next to Jesus. And Jesus cannot give those to James, John and me. The world is too small really. It is even smaller for twelve men who may be interested in sitting on the same seats.

“Okay, count me out please, Mommy. I will be satisfied with only being in that kingdom, you know.”

The other ten, however, according to Matthew (who is, by the way, one of them; and, therefore, his word is reliable), are indignant with James and John because of their mother’s bold request that is complemented by their audacious claim that they can drink the cup that Jesus is going to drink. Should not Jesus be the One offended? But why the ten?

The ten are indignant because they, too, have their eyes on those seats. But there are only two seats. And they are twelve. While all the Twelve have their eyes on those two seats, only the two have the heart to claim them for themselves. The world may praise James and John for their courage to own, express, and pursue their dream, but Jesus has a different idea about the same dream.

Jesus dreams greatness for all of them. He wants them to reach the peak of prominence. But He has a logic of greatness directly contrary to that of the world’s: the higher one wants to reach, the lower he should bend. The greatest among Jesus’ disciples is the one who serves the least. He must be the slave, not merely the servant, of all. Notice: a slave!

Moreover, the greatest among them is not only required to serve the rest. He must also give His life for the many. It is not enough to serve to be great. To be truly great, one’s service must be life-giving. There are many kinds of service and many kinds of slaves, but only that which is life-giving that makes one the greatest.

Mrs. Zebedee and Jesus have the same dream for James and John. They both want the two to achieve greatness. But Mrs. Zebedee and Jesus understand greatness very much differently. The other ten share with Mrs. Zebedee the same definition of greatness.

My mother and I can be no different from Mrs. Zebedee and the Twelve. Are you?


At 1:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear God, thank you for teaching and showing us the real meaning of service, an example of how a true servant should serve others without expecting something in return. May we follow your steps in giving care and love for others. Furthermore, thank you Dear Lord for giving us Father Bob Titco as our shepherd. May he continue to inspire and guide more people. Amen.

Happy Birthday po, Fr. Bob!


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