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Lenten Reflection: Day 15
Gospel, Matthew 20:17-28
Today’s Gospel reading, I believe, begins with the description of something very profound in the life of Jesus that is expected to resonate full throttle in the life of every sincere Christian. Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the road he huddled up with His chosen twelve friends and said, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem.” Throughout His ministry and even while He was a child (refer to the instance in the Temple where Jesus was found discussing Scripture with Rabbis), Jesus has showered words of indescribable wisdom. Among the ocean of this Divine wisdom, this sentence; “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem”, has a timeless connotation to every generation that lives here on earth, waiting upon the Kingdom of God. Christ is alive and He reigns over the known and unknown creation of God, from heaven, seated at the right hand of His Father. He is alive in the life of every Christian who has received Him in baptism, as well as in all men of good will.
In the journey of life of these people who seek the eternal company of God, Jesus draws them aside during the passage, then to some who are new to a personal relationship with Him; He reveals, and to those who have been receiving His nourishment for some time now, He reminds, that we are all headed to the (New) Jerusalem which is heaven. The dwelling place of immaculate holiness, joy and unity. It is important and necessary for each one of us Christians and people of good will, to recess in our journey at the behest of Jesus, to let Him call to our mind where we are headed. It is surely possible that even though we are heading towards Him and His/our eternal dwelling place, we might get overwhelmed by the journey (pilgrimage) and by its experiences. There is every chance of us forgetting about the true and original meaning of what heaven (New Jerusalem) is all about, and why we should strive to journey towards it as our final destination.
This journey reflects the very same characteristics that Christ’s journey here on earth revealed. He continues to say, “and the Son of man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised up again.” Numerous sons and daughters of Jesus, from time immemorial, have experienced countless, terrifying, as well as inhumane persecution for His name sake. Just like Jesus was persecuted and finally given-up to be crucified, by His own people, like wise many fall victim to the vice & evil of their own people (fellow Christians), and others to the hateful sting of many non-believers. Nevertheless, just like Jesus rose from the dead by His own will and power (for He is truly God and truly Man), His resurrection also assures our rising from the dead and joining Him in heaven for life eternal.
The presence of Jesus along the journey can be so enticing and incredible to some, that they would expect themselves or their kin to be always close to Jesus’ side in His dwelling place. In other words they would still look at the ‘company’ of Jesus as something within the realm of space and matter. They forget that everyone has a ‘place’ in God’s Kingdom, and there is no possibility of reserving a physical place next to and close to or around God. Each one’s place is already destined by The Father. Jesus assures us of this just like He did to the mother of Zebedee’s sons. We may partake in His suffering, death and resurrection, but The Father in Heaven who is the author of everything good, He alone has the authority to draw us to Him and let us live with Him, placing us wherever He chooses. Expectations, such as what Zebedee’s wife had, are evident even now among people. And such expectations create jealousy and disharmony in the body of Christ (The Church).
Therefore my friends, let this Lent draw us to learn from Christ’s example of servitude, which inspires heavenly blessings to radiate in our day-to-day life and may we, by His example and the example of countless holy martyrs of Christ, be ready to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others, even unto death. Amen.