Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

The service and the mission 

Jesus ….began to tell them what was going to happen to him. “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles death, but after three days he will rise.” 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?” …. When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Mk 10,32-41

It is the third time, in the Mark’s Gospel, that Jesus speaks of his passion, death and resurrection and the disciples still refuse to understand. They do not want and they cannot accept that this is the end of their great adventure with the Master: they do not accept that way of being “head” passing through the service and they do not  understand the fact that he did not do anything to escape the events about  which he sometimes talks. They think that Jesus, while having much to teach, has something still to learn, particularly on how to exercise the authority. The first time Peter had just rejected the idea of ​​the passion and of the cross, the second time the apostles fled to other thoughts, wondering who was the greatest of them, today James and John change the subject of the discussion, thinking about their personal career. The other disciples have the same thoughts: they are not scandalized by what James and John asked, but for the fact that, despite having the same desires, they did not dare to propose themselves as the first assistants of the Master.
It is all very human and very far from the categories of thought of Jesus, who considers the authority  as a service and the cross  as the logical conclusion of the mission.  There is a refusal in the disciples to follow the Lord in his conception of authority, so different from both the conception of the Jewish as well as of the  roman. The logic of the cross, then, is really inconceivable to the human mind. St. Paul called it “the madness of the cross” and the madness indeed lies in the acceptance to pay personally for the salvation of the others. It is the shift from the concept of liberation and salvation to that of the redemption. To redeem, something is to be paid and the redemption from the sin, Paul says, is the bill that nobody, except the Son of God, could pay for the entire world. Missionaries and parents experience every day this Christian dynamic of the service and of the mission, of which Jesus is the Master, but they pass through the mystery of the life and the secret of the joy.

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