Today’s two readings resemble one another in two separate ways. The first is rather evident. Both Jeremiah and Jesus are aware of the fact that the authorities are contriving to get rid of them. Their adherence to God’s law has put them on the wrong side of the political spectrum.
However, there is another more subtle similarity. Notice that in Jeremiah’s prayer, he emphasizes that everything he has done has been done for the sake of those to whom he was sent. He had spoken on their behalf in order to turn God’s wrath away from them. He has taken on the role of prophet at God’s call not for his own glory but for the sake of the people of Israel. Though he has spoken the truth, his words have not been accepted because he was so young and because they upset the political plans of those in power.
In the Gospel, Jesus emphasizes that the apostles are sent to serve, not to be served. After he has explained what will happen to him because of his preaching, the mother of James and John asks Jesus to place her sons, one at his right and one at his left signifying favor. Little does she realize that his throne will be a cross! When they signal their agreement with their mother’s request, he makes it clear that they will all suffer the same fate.
Our vocation calls upon us to proclaim the Gospel through our lives in service to others. Like Jeremiah and Jesus, we must be constant in our adherence to the Gospel and to God’s Word. Like them we are called to suffer for the sake of the Gospel as we serve others. Our Lenten journey draws us ever closer to Calvary. This is what God asks of us all.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator