GOSPEL. ST. MATT, xx, 17-28.
(Jesus Prophesies His Bitter Passion. Ambition of two Disciples. Jesus before Pilate.)
At that time: Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death. And they shall deliver Him to the gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, and the third day He shall rise again. Then came to Him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of Him. Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to Him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left, in Thy kingdom. But Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They said to Him: We can. He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink: but to sit on My right or left hand, is not Mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by My Father. And the ten hearing it were moved with indignation against the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Him, and said: You know that the princes of the gentiles lord it over them: and they that are the greater exercise power upon them. It shall not be so among you, but whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister. And he that will be first among you, shall be your servant. Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a redemption for many.
What a contrast, Christian soul, between the loving Savior foretelling His bitter passion and the vanity of the mother and her sons! Certainly it would be praiseworthy for all mothers to wish to have their children placed near Jesus; but not for the sake of temporal advantages in an earthly kingdom, or from vanity, selfishness, pride and a spirit of worldliness.
Behold your Savior, O Christian soul; contemplate Jesus before Pilate, and admire the humility of His holy Mother. Jesus is led from Mt. Sion to the palace and tribunal of Pilate, the heathen governor, in the midst of false witnesses, exasperated Pharisees, soldiers and officials. And Jesus, the picture of misery, shivering, weakened by blows, is abused and derided. In this condition, Mary, His Mother, beholds Him, as she with John and Magdalene stand together in a corner of the judgment hall. Consider the glance, full of patience, humility and pain that is exchanged between Son and Mother. Now He stands before Pilate, the viceroy of the emperor. Pilate hears the accusations of the Jews; he is astonished at the dignity, the mildness, the patience and the humility of. the Redeemer; he recognizes and confesses the innocence of the Savior; but vanity, human respect and cowardice stifle the sense of justice, and he misuses Jesus for the sake of pleasing men. Truly "the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give His life a redemption for many," that is for all that believe in Him and follow Him.
LET US PRAY.
Mercifully regard Thy people, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and grant that we, whom Thou commandest to abstain from carnal food, may also cease from hurtful vices.
Preserve us, O loving Savior from the sins of vanity and pride, and grant us the grace of patience and humility that we may remain true to Thee in temptations, sufferings and persecutions, and that we may openly confess and honor Thee so that Thou mayest exalt us in eternal glory. Amen.