Personal Conversations

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Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent 


Matthew 20:17-28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, open my heart to your Spirit in this time of prayer. I believe that you are here and that you have something to say to me. 


Encountering Christ: 


  1. Jesus’ Personal Conversation with the Twelve: Today’s Gospel passage reminds us of Sunday’s Gospel reading, the Transfiguration of the Lord, which would have taken place shortly after the events recounted in today’s Gospel. Jesus had much on his heart as his Passion drew closer. He wanted to prepare his closest friends, knowing it would come as a shock to them. And perhaps he wanted, simply, to share his suffering from his heart, too. He was about to accomplish the redemption of the world. He was about to suffer and be abandoned. Who, with these events impending, would not want to take his or her closest friends aside and share it with them? Jesus, who is fully God and fully human, did so, yet how little they understood. 
  2. A Mother’s Personal Conversation with Jesus: According to Matthew, the very next noteworthy event after Jesus’ prediction of his Passion was this: the mother of ambitious James and John asked that her sons be given the greatest honor. Their ambition was not entirely “off,” because they expressed a desire to be close to Jesus, to participate with him in a real and significant way in his mission. This is something Jesus desires, for us too, his followers. But their expectation of human recognition and honor revealed just how little they understood who Jesus was and how he would bring about the redemption promised. Is there a matter in our own life where we find our limited, human expectations are far from those of Jesus? Let us open our hearts to the Holy Spirit and dialogue with him about this. 
  3. Jesus and my Personal Conversation: “The Son of Man did not come to be served,” Jesus patiently said, “but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus came to reveal himself not to receive honors and accolades, although he always deserves our praise. He came, rather, freely and humbly, to reveal to our hardened hearts, in our slowness to believe, despite our clumsy efforts, that he loves us; and that from this love, he calls us to follow him. His call is not to a path of human accolades; most often, it is to the contrary. He calls us to union with him, to freedom and redemption, and to make ourselves servants with the Servant. 


Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you have come to reveal to us the Father who knows us and loves us. You ask for my heart, for my love, for all that I am and do. You will make my life much more fruitful than I could. I thank you for this great honor, this call to be your friend. I give you my life—not to win human security, but to be open to your love. Make me an instrument of your love. 


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to make a concrete act of service to another for love of you. 


For Further Reflection: You may wish to read from the book of the prophet Isaiah (especially chapters 52-53) on the Suffering Servant, a prophecy applied to Christ in his Passion, in light of today’s Gospel. 


Beth Van de Voorde is a Regnum Christi Consecrated Woman, currently serving in pastoral ministry to families in Madrid and Valencia, Spain. When she’s not reading Ratzinger or humming along to some song or another, you may find her making her pilgrim way through Spain’s timeless history of faith, walking alongside the beautiful families and young people she’s there to serve. 

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