Today is the final Sunday of Great Lent, and the Church continues to teach us about Christian humility within the proper context. As Christ was preparing His Disciples to understand what was soon about to happen in Jerusalem, rather than acknowledging the great blessing they were receiving, they could only think about themselves.
The Disciples had just been told, in clear concise language, that Jesus was the Son of Man, that He was going to be betrayed, judged, mocked, beaten, condemned, killed, AND that He would rise on the third day. This should have been overwhelming news for them to hear. The One whom they had been loyally following for three years, whom they believed to be the Messiah, had just told them it was all about to ‘get real’ in Jerusalem, and all they could think about was what chair they were going to enjoy in the kingdom. “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” (Mark 10.37) It was as if they had not been paying attention to a single thing Christ had taught them over the past three years.
Many times, we fall into the same trap. We hear about God’s love for us, we hear about God’s mercy, we hear about God’s forgiveness, and rather than being grateful, we add more demands. We are never satisfied with what we have received from God, especially when that something is Holy Communion. Can there be anything more precious than for us to be physically united to God? Can there be anything that could bring us more joy than to live with God in heaven? And yet, we still ask for more every day in our prayers.
Our lesson is in the response that Christ offered to His Disciples. “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mark 10.38) At that moment they did not realize that meant they would also (with the exception of John the Theologian) be killed for being His Disciples. “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” (Mark 10.39-40) They did not realize that it was a great honor to be treated the same as God.
Christ is inviting us to be satisfied with what He has done for us, and what He has given to us. We have been united to Him and that should be sufficient. Everything else, our jobs, our homes, our way of life…..when compared to being united to God, all those things are meaningless. If we are treated poorly on Earth, it is because we are united to God, but that is not bad news. Since we are united with God, and He was victorious in the face of evil, we too will be victorious and that should be sufficient.