The Lenten Scripture readings can sometimes be hard to wrap your head around, and yet, on another level, they are so very simple. Trust in God. Serve. Forgive. Love. Be merciful just as God is merciful.
I find consolation in that the disciples also seemed to have a hard time wrapping their head around the message of Jesus.
Two cases in point …
In Sunday’s Gospel from Mark (9:2-10) we have Peter wanting to set up tents and stay on the mountaintop with Jesus, Elijah, and Moses, almost missing the point that this was a new moment. In the end it required a voice from the heavens to snap him out of it!
Today we have the story of the mother of James and John (Matthew 20: 17-28) asking that “these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” The sons also did not get it, thinking they were up for what was ahead without stopping to think of the level of sacrifice following Jesus might entail.
I imagine that Jesus must have been just a little bit frustrated when, once again, his friends just did not get it. But he rolled up his sleeves, sat down, and tried another way of teaching lessons in paradox. His way was not business as usual, but something new centered on God’s way of love, justice, and mercy.
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
It shall not be so among you ….
What are the ways that we are called to live the paradox of the Gospels today? In our families? Communities? Ministry?
What is is that I just don’t get? My prayer this morning is for my heart and mind to be opened to Jesus’ never ending lessons in paradox this Lent.