Some people look for secrets to success in life. We talk of secrets in recipes, weight loss, doing well in tests, money making, climbing the corporate ladder and such things. There are ways towards success. When we do not know the way then we refer to the unknown ways as secrets. Once we know the ways and adopt to use them they become a way of life. When we work at the proven ways of life we reap the benefits for applying the formula of success. The lives we are living here on earth are two-fold. One is here and now, and the other is eternal. For those who have not reflected and are not fully conscious of this dual nature which is inherent in a human being, this is not a secret but the truth. This is a God given gift for all. When we read scriptures, we are given the secret to live a good life that benefits our soul.
In today’s Gospel – Mark 10:35-45, we see the worldly ambitions in James and John seeking to be elevated with Jesus Christ. They came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” Jesus 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.” If it is this simple we want to ask of Jesus the same for us too; be elevated and on top of the world with all the powers of Christ. Sometimes, this is how we think when we pray; ask for anything and God will grant it to us.
As the conversation continues, 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.” Jesus tells them that what they are asking is erroneous. The cup is an analogy for trouble and suffering. When we go to Jesus’ agony at Gethsemane we see him falling to the ground, struggling with his impending crucifixion. In Mark 14:36, we see him pleading, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Even Jesus struggled with the cup of trouble and suffering and he hesitated in drinking from it. However, he is humble and is willing to do the will of the Father and not his own, even as a sacrificial Lamb for the sins of mankind. The baptism is in reference to a deluge of trouble, hence the expression baptism of fire.
Jesus further teaches his disciples and us, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The secret given by Jesus here is to be a servant. Being a servant for Christ comes with a huge responsibility. It takes dying to self, love, courage, humility, discipline, and when dissected further will show more virtues for the role of discipleship. Most certainly when we can be a humble servant of Christ we can be certain our prayers will be in tune with the will of the Father and we will have a place close to Jesus’ heart.
God bless, and may His Holy Spirit be with each of you.
Diaconate Candidate 2025