The story of a mother asking Jesus to appoint her sons to leadership positions is very well known among the faithful people we serve as religious. She put her intention straight to Jesus, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit…..’ Jesus explained it is not for Him to appoint them because His work is preaching. This causes tensions among the apostles. The faithful people we serve often forget that God calls a person, (like Samuel), God anoints (like David anointed) and God appoints and commission in a particular ministry (Jesus commissions His).
What the mother asked from Jesus is not new to us. Conflicts and tensions are caused by such requests in our midst. We often quarrel and complain about those in leadership who seek self-approval, praises and acknowledgement and who do not remember that the Church ordains and appoints the bishops, vicars, parish priests, chaplains. God calls those with the gifts and talents that can be overlooked by others.
During the jubilee year, we are called to affirm the gifts and talents of others for the benefit of the common good. In our lives we treasure God’s words; therefore we know exactly the reasons for leaving behind our previous dreams in order to follow Christ. We emptied ourselves for the sake of the gospel, hence we ought to stay focused on our preaching, contemplation, and study. Our religious life calls us to be humble in our service and respect each other. We treasure peace, happiness, joy, and respect but not status or positions. Human life is not about glories, power, and fame, instead it is about humility and leading by example. We must follow in the footsteps of Our Father St. Dominic in serving Jesus Christ, showing our humility and stop being trapped in our own pride and arrogance.
To be a follower of Jesus is to face the challenges of suffering and rejection, especially with those to whom we minister the Word of God. Remember God is watching us (cf. Psalm 129). We make excuses, appoint ourselves, declare what is unmovable however God is watching each step we take. Religious life can be in constant tension when one seeks self-approval causing division and does so in the name of the Church.
The gospel passage shows clearly our human weakness. Pride, greed and hunger for power and greatness lead us into errors. During the jubilee year, as a family let us learn to overcome our own weaknesses and seek true happiness and peace.