Can we? Yes we can!

JMJ

The Readings for Wednesday in the 2nd Week of Lent (B2)

Ecce ascendimus Jerosolymam, et Filius hominis tradetur principibus sacerdotum, et scribis, et condemnabunt eum morte, et tradent eum gentibus ad illudendum, et flagellandum, et crucifigendum…
Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified…

Jesus says, “all these bad things will happen to me” and then Mrs Zebedee says, “Take my boys with you.” But she doesn’t do it like Hannah does in the Old Testament – offereing her son unreservedly to God; nor does she do it like Solomonia does it in Maccabees – urging her sons to martyrdom. Rather, Mrs Zebedee says, “After all these bad things happen, let my boys come and sit with you in your kingdom.” Something ain’t right.

But Jesus takes pains to set it right, offering a way out: Can you, he asks, drink the same cup as I? Yes, we can! OK, then you shall… but I can’t give those seats away to anyone. That is my Father’s job. This is, pardon my pun, crucial. Jesus does offer us rewards, yes: but he asks of us everything and offers no shortcuts.

One huge purpose of Lent is to learn to give up things. That we want them at all is a reason to give them up.  Such wanting, such or constant craving, is an offense against our human freedom. We are  divinely appointed as free to make choices: our first choice being to submit even our freedom to God’s will. Cravings, desires, lusts, all impinge on our freedom. They impinge upon what is properly our only desire: union with God. Anything that comes prior to that desire is out of its proper order. It is disordered.

So we give up things which are otherwise good to learn to say no to our body’s desires. Simply wanting something is no reason to just get up and get it. We give up sinful things all the time, right?  But we train up our wills, slowly, by saying no to silly things (like meat, or fish, dairy, eggs, oil, etc)  so that eventually we can give up big things like disordered choices and sins that run amok aka the passions

Jesus wants us to drink the cup of his passion. Full stop. Even though he can’t promise the seats on his right and his left, he can promise us crosses just like his and penance tailored to fit. 





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