One on his right and one on his left

St. Friends in the Lord, today in the gospel, Our Lord predicts his passion to his apostles and also tells of his resurrection. Perhaps then, thinking that the kingdom of God was quite near, the Mother of James and John – whose name was Salome – she asks Jesus that her two sons will sit at his right and at his left in his kingdom. She had heard Jesus say that his disciples will judge nations and sit on thrones, so she asks for greatness for her sons.
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As St. John Chrysostom says, James and John no doubt realized that Peter was held as the leader of the apostles, and so they feared that Peter would get this honor before them.
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Now ordinary mothers only desire for their kids to make a lot of money, be successful, prosperous, important – but at least this mother wanted her children to be great in God’s kingdom, even though she did not understand it. Perhaps those boys sent their mother to ask the Lord this favor, because the Lord always listens to the pleas of a mother for her children. But neither this mother nor her sons understood what is the price of reigning in the kingdom of heaven.
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‘Can you drink the cup that I will drink?, Jesus asks them. In other words, can you suffer? Can you give up your life? ‘We can,’ they say. But they did not know what they were saying.
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When Our Lord is arrested and sent to crucifixion, the disciples ran away! They were not ready to be crucified with the Lord. Jesus knew this, that they were not ready yet. In the end however, James WOULD be martyred, and John thrown into a pot of boiling oil and banished to Patmos for being true to the Lord. So eventually, with the grace of Christ, they would be able to drink the cup of suffering and reign with him.
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But let us think of an interesting scene. Those boys wanted to be, ‘one at Christ’s right and one at his left’ in glory; and at the cross, there with Mary, was Salome, this mother of James and John. And if she looked up, she would see Jesus being crucified, and to her horror, she saw two others being crucified, one on his right and one on his left! Is that where she really wanted her sons to be? !
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When we pray, we ask the Lord for what we want; but then we should leave it up to him on how to answer the prayer, because he knows best how and when to answer it.

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