After someone says something that you view as “NOT SPOT ON”, have you ever been tempted to “roll your eyes, or emit a sigh, or maybe even a quiet mumble under your breath.” I have to admit that occasionally I’m guilty as charged. In fact, at times my response has even been more dramatic…. perhaps even “stomping my feet, rolling on the ground, weeping, jumping up and down, crying out “I can’t take it anymore… I’m finished… take me away to the nuthouse.” Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit.
Yet I’m always amazed at the self control that the Lord exhibited during the three years of his public ministry. Often you see the Lord in the midst of a great major pronouncement, significant turmoil, terrible suffering, and someone comes up with an obtuse comment or question. How does he respond?
In today’s gospel from Matthew 20, Jesus reveals the culmination of his ministry to the 12 apostles… “I will be handed over to the chief priests, condemned, mocked, scourged, crucified, and raised from the dead”. (Mt. 20:17-28). The next moment is the mother of James and John asking that her sons sit on the right and left hand of Jesus in his kingdom…. “duh….excuse me… are you talkin to me…. are you serious…did you hear what I just said…?” Jesus could certainly be excused if he ran away screaming. But no, he patiently explains that “the greatest among you shall be your servants…. the Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt. 20) He hardly even chastises James and John or their mother.
Recall the passages describing the Lord carrying the cross to Calvary. He has been condemned, scourged, crowned with thorns, mocked, and is now half dead carrying this heavy cross for some half mile to Calvary. (It’s estimated that the crossbar that Jesus carried weighed some 70-90 pounds.) He fell three times, so you know he was exhausted and unable to continue…when Simon came to help. Yet during this roughly half mile journey he was stopped by the women of Jerusalem and others to talk, to probably ask questions, maybe ask for healings and favors. Again, he patiently loves each one. If it was me you would probably be hearing, “could I get 5 minutes to collect my thoughts, could you hold those questions for now…. the tank is almost empty….”.
It’s one thing to be kind and loving when you’re feeling good and everything is great; it’s another thing to love when you’re tired, sick, abused, and facing severe trials. The Lord sets the highest of standards by loving when under the most dire circumstances. God is love. Jesus acted in love at all times. We are called to do the same…but how?
The first thing is to admit to the Lord that we can’t do it. I can’t do it Lord !!! I can’t do it. Holy Spirit help me to love. I’m tired and weak and I can’t do it on my own… in fact I’m not sure I even want to do it. Holy Spirit please help me. Holy Spirit show me how to think and act and speak, when to be silent. Holy Spirit help me to love when my tank is empty…. when I’m sick and suffering.
The truth is that with the help of the Holy Spirit we can love, even when our tank is empty. It’s true. With God’s help we can love even when it’s hard. Let’s just remember to ask the Lord to help us….. He will. And let’s even ask the Lord to help us to smile as we love. And that is very good news.
3 thoughts on “You’re Not Serious ?”
I thought the same thing when I read about James and John’s mother! Eye roll…
I’ve experienced the help of the Holy Spirit this week in this exact way – the kids needing love and I’m exhausted and so done. Failed a few times and then remembered to ask the Lord to help in my poverty and he gave grace to love.
Grace is an incredible, amazing gift from God, always there to help us, called the Holy Spirit, the infuser of God’s love and strength. Thank you Jesus for the grace you have generously given me for so many years and the grace that will carry me home🙌🏻🎁
A great reminder!
Catherine Pagano (Touhill) email@example.com