Twenty-NinthSunday in Ordinary Time
To follow the Lord by limping
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish (me) to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Mk 10, 35-41
In the Mark’s Gospel the disciples’ inability to grasp the message of Jesus is marked by a continuous increase. They believe that he is the Messiah, but they do not understand the meaning of his humble messiahship. Including the mention in the today passage, it is the third time that Jesus predicts his passion and resurrection, but the attitude of the disciples is the same: they shun from the thought, starting a dispute for their careers and power, pursuing their own projects. The temptation of every christian, at those times as now, is to prefer his own will to that of Jesus: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you”. I admit that it happened to me to be tempted by the personal achievement. Father Arturo, a day when I expressed my intentions to be elected to the Parliament, said: “I do not think that this is your plan of life, pray rather for those who are already in politics”. At that time I did not understand what he was meaning, as in the today’s gospel the disciples do not understand Jesus, but when I was bogged in the difficulties and in the compromises, I remembered those words. It happened one day that I had started to pray the Lord to pull me off from the fetters in which I was involved and he enlightened me with a verse of Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6,14). It is not always easy to be consistent with the proposal of the gospel. Nor it is easy to give an immediate answer: it goes from “I will think about” when we are still young, to the indifference of the adolescence, when the life makes us various proposals and flatters us a little. Then, over the years, we realize that the only proposal for a serious life is that of the gospel: at that point, however, we are tempted by the career, or by the inner rebellions, for example, being faced with the many social injustices which the Teacher, in our opinion, allows to take place. Finally, when this phase is over and we decide to follow the Lord, the rejection of the persecution and of the cross begins . Our destiny is to live to follow him, by limping, but also by limping we can go far ahead.