Gospel Reflection – Wednesday, February 28, 2024 – Matthew 20,17-28 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Jeremiah 18:18-20)

Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah.

In those days, the people said: “Come, let us make plans against Jeremiah; for the priest will not let the law perish, nor the sage the counsel, nor the prophet the word. Come, let us attack him with the tongue, and let us pay no attention to all his words.”

Listen to me, Lord; hear what my adversaries say. Can good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.

— The word of the Lord.

— Thanks be to God.

Gospel (Matthew 20:17-28)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, while Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and, as they were walking, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death, and they will deliver him to the Gentiles to mock him, to scourge him, and to crucify him. But on the third day, he will rise again.”

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and knelt down to make a request. Jesus asked her, “What do you want?” She replied, “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered her, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” Jesus then said to them, “Indeed, you will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

When the other ten disciples heard this, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

— The Gospel of the Lord.

— Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ, may the peace of the Lord be with all of you!

Today, I would like to begin our reflection with a question: how often, in our daily lives, do we encounter situations where we are challenged, questioned, and even persecuted because of our faith? Perhaps we feel like the prophet Jeremiah, mentioned in our First Reading (Jeremiah 18:18-20), facing opposition and conspiracies against us. Or maybe we identify with Jesus’ disciples, mentioned in the Gospel (Matthew 20:17-28), who sought glory and recognition but were called to humble and sacrificial service.

These biblical passages invite us to reflect on the nature of our call as disciples of Christ. They challenge us to examine our hearts and discover the true meaning of service and humility in our lives. And it is through stories and metaphors that we can make these spiritual truths tangible and applicable.

Now, imagine yourself as a clay vessel in the hands of a potter. The potter is skilled, but his work requires patience and care. He shapes the vessel according to his will, applying pressure where needed and smoothing out imperfections. Likewise, God acts with us, molding and transforming us each day. He knows our limitations and weaknesses, but, like the potter, He sees our potential and empowers us to fulfill the purpose He has for us.

But, like the clay vessel, we also face challenges. We may encounter opposition and resistance, just like Jeremiah. It is important to remember that when we face adversity because of our faith, we are not alone. God is by our side, strengthening us and empowering us to stand firm in our conviction. He encourages us to trust in Him and seek His grace and guidance at all times.

Looking to the Gospel, we find Jesus’ disciples, who sought glory and personal recognition. They desired prominent places in the Kingdom of God. However, Jesus taught them that greatness in the Kingdom is not measured by position or power but by humble service. He said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:27). These words challenge our selfish mindset and invite us to reconsider our priorities.

Now, imagine a scenario: you are walking down a busy street and you see a beggar sitting on the sidewalk, asking for help. You could simply pass by, ignoring his existence, or you could approach and offer a kind word, a smile, perhaps even a meal. In that moment, you choose between seeking glory for yourself or responding to Jesus’ call to serve others.

Service doesn’t have to be grand or extravagant. It can be as simple as listening to someone going through a tough time, helping an elderly neighbor with their daily tasks, or showing kindness and compassion in our workplace. Small acts of love and service can have a significant impact on the lives of those around us.

My friends, we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who came into the world to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. He invites us to imitate His example, to set aside our own selfish interests, and to dedicate ourselves to serving others. In doing so, we find the true joy and fulfillment that only selfless service can bring.

So, I challenge you today to reflect on the biblical passages we have shared and consider how these principles apply to your daily lives. Think about specific situations where you can apply these teachings. Perhaps it’s helping a co-worker who is overwhelmed, forgiving someone who has deeply hurt you, or finding ways to share your gifts and talents with those in need.

Remember that service is not an easy task. It requires time, commitment, and sacrifice. But it is through this service that we find a greater purpose in our lives and draw closer to God.

I encourage you to seek divine guidance through prayer. Ask God to show you practical ways to serve others and to give you the strength and courage to act. Trust that He will empower you with His grace and that, through humble service, you will be instruments of love and transformation in this world.

My brothers and sisters, the call to serve is an invitation to step out of our comfort zone and embrace the path that Jesus has shown us. It is a call to live meaningful and impactful lives, even amidst the challenges and oppositions we may face.

As we approach the end of this reflection, I invite you to close your eyes for a moment and allow the words and teachings of Scripture to penetrate your hearts. Let us pray together, asking God to guide us in our call to service:

Dear Father, we thank you for calling us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and to serve others. Grant us the wisdom and courage to be instruments of Your love and grace in this world. Help us to see beyond our own interests and to value humble service as a path to true greatness. May our service be a living testimony of Your love and mercy. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.

May the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit descend upon all of you and empower you to live as true servants of the Kingdom of God. Go in peace and serve the Lord with joy!