No one understands the radical scope of Christianity until they encounter Christ's stunning demand that we follow him on the path of the Cross.
Today’s readings can be found here.
Grabbing the best seats is a sport as old as the world, and the request of the mother of the sons of Zebedee, reported in today’s Gospel, is an eloquent testimony to this: “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.”
What in the eyes of this woman seems like a good deal, in reality Jesus sees with a realism unknown to her: “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?’”
Making your “career” with Christ literally means accepting the same end as him, that is, embracing the mystery of the Cross to deepest depths, for it is at the bottom of that mystery that Easter Day is hidden.
But no one likes to die, especially then when death is primarily about “dying to ourselves.” No one understands the radical scope of Christianity until they encounter Christ’s stunning demand that we follow him on the path of the Cross.
But there is a specific road to get us on that path, which is that of service:
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The pinnacle of a Christian’s career coincides with the gift of self to others. To serve is to reign.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.