This material was first published by Redemptorist Publications
and is included here with their permission.
What do you want me to do for you?
The Gospel readings for this week and next are linked by Jesus asking “what do you want me to do for you”. He asks it in entirely different contexts and with very different results.
This week James and John have asked him to do them a favour. They want to reserve for themselves the best seats in heaven at Jesus’ side but they’re in for a disappointment.
Even when they have said that they are prepared to experience all that Jesus experiences they are told that it’s not within Jesus’ power to grant them their request.
The lesson Jesus seems to be trying to teach them is that following him brings no guarantees about the future. Following Jesus must be a choice we make for its own sake, in response to his love and God’s calling, not for the sake of what we might get out of it.
We can probably sympathise with the anger of the other ten disciples when they find out what James and John have been up to. Their bickering gives Jesus a chance to talk about what it is to be great in God’s Kingdom. Greatness he says is born of service to others characterised by the question “What do you want me to do for you?”.
Next week we will hear Jesus ask the question again. How many times, by then, will we have asked it of those around us?
Lord Jesus, you came not to be served but to serve. Help us to love and serve others, as you do, without conditions or promises of glory but in response to the Love that first called us. Amen.