Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Have you ever had someone say, “Oh, by the way, there is just one more thing?” When someone says this, you know that something demanding is coming. I back up, brace myself, and get ready for whatever comes when someone says this to me. Our readings today come to us with these words, “Oh, by the way, there is just one more thing?”
In our Gospel, James, and John come to Jesus with two questions. Now, remember James and John, along with Peter, where the three disciples in the inner group of Jesus. These three disciples witnessed things that the others did not. James and John ask two very bold questions, and the first question is, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask of you.” When I first read this, I thought, “Wow! Who do these two guys think they are?” But we do the very same thing in prayer all the time? We ask God to change whatever we ask instead of asking God to change us?
The next amazing thing is Jesus does not rebuke them; he loves them, just as he looked at the rich young man last week and loved him. Instead, Jesus says, “What do you wish for me to do for you?” What I take comfort in is that even when we may not ask the best of questions of Jesus; he still is there to help us.
Now the brothers are ready to ask their second question,” We want to sit one at your right and one at your left in your kingdom.” Jesus says, “Oh, by the way, there is one more thing! Are you able to drink from my cup?” What Jesus is asking the brothers is, “Are you willing to share in my fate and do what is about to happen to me?” James and John responded, “Of course we can do this!”
Jesus had just told the disciples three times that he was going to Jerusalem to suffer and die, to usher in the Kingdom of God, but they never heard the suffering and death part; they only heard the Kingdom of God. Jesus says, “Oh, by the way, there is one more thing! Are you willing to make me number one in your life above and beyond everything in your life? And if you are willing to do that, are you ready to suffer and die as I am because this is what you are going to have to do.”
In a few moments, my friends in Christ, we will physically get up and come closer to Christ by coming up for communion. But will we be spiritually ready to hear to receive Jesus? Because as we come forward, he will be asking us, “Oh, by the way, there is one more thing? Are you spiritually ready to make me the center of your life? And if you are willing to do that, are you ready to suffer and die as I am because this is what you are going to have to do.”