With a Pure Heart

Readings for Wednesday May 26, 2010

First Reading: 1 Peter 1:18-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 147
Gospel: Mark 10:32-45

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He 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.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice 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 chalice 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.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, “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.” (Mk 10:35-45)

In today's gospel, we see the bold and ambitious question that James and John ask; "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." Can we really blame them for wanting to be closer to Jesus, to wanting to have a bigger part in His kingdom? I think that only difference between James and John and the other is disciples, is that James and John weren't afraid to ask. I think that they asked what each of the other disciples was thinking.

It is perfectly natural as people to want places of honor and certain titles and responsibilities; but the biggest factor in wanting these things is our motive. What is the reason that we are asking for these things. We are not told why James and John asked for what they did, who knows maybe they didn't fully understand it themselves, it could have been that they were just trying to call "dibs" on those places of honor. Whatever the reason, I do not think that it was for right reasons, I do think that they were asking for their own gain, even if the place of honor was a good thing, that does not make it right. Jesus then used this as a good "teachable moment" for His disciples. He used this as an opportunity to teach them that they should not be seeking things out for themselves, but rather for the glory of God.

Today, let us reflect on these words from 1 Peter: "Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a pure heart." (1 Pet 1:22)

May the peace of the Lord be with each of you today, and may the Lord grant each of us a pure heart that allows us to love as we are meant to, instead of a selfish heart.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and for all that you give. Lord, we thank you so much for your great, abundance love and mercy, which we are not deserving of, but you still choose to freely pour out to us. Help us to live this life as we are meant to, loving each other with a pure heart. We pray for all those you do not know you and that are in need of conversion. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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