Working for the Word

Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrasesTeacher ... do for us, What do you wish me to do?, glory, to serve and to give his life

To the point: When James and John brazenly demand of Jesus, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you,” they reverse the usual dynamics of the disciple/teacher relationship. By acquiescing with “What do you wish me to do for you?” Jesus accepts the role reversal they foist on him. By responding in this way, Jesus reveals another reversal: glory is given not to those who seek to be “first among” others but to those who choose to serve others by giving their lives for them. Out of which reversal do we live?

Connecting the Gospel …

… to the First Reading: These verses from the fourth Song of the Suffering Servant (also read on Good Friday) foreshadow the fullness of the servanthood accepted by Jesus on our behalf: he gave his life for us. Because of this self-gift, God glorified him: “he shall see the light in fullness of days.”

… to experience: The tendency toward self-promotion is part of our human nature. Jesus teaches us by his own life and ministry that discipleship, however, is not about seeking places of honor but about serving others. And serving others is the only path to real glory.


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson