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Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Peter I:18-25 & Mk 10:32-45

When we use the phrase that someone is worth their weight in gold we are trying to express how precious is that person. But with fluctuations in the price of gold these days it is hard to say what a person is worth!

God's standard for measuring our worth is far more precious than gold. It is the Blood of His divine Son. St. Peter writes, “Remember, the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in sliver nor gold, but in the precious blood of Christ.” In His Father's plan for our salvation He was to shed His blood for us on the Cross. Theologians tell us that if there were just one person Jesus had to save He would still have shed His blood for that one person. This tells us how precious each one of us is in our Father’s eyes.

The Apostles James and John were concerned about their place in Heaven. They wanted preferential treatment. Jesus had just told them of the dreadful fate, the most cruellest of all deaths, He was to face in Jerusalem and it is obvious from today's Gospel reading that they did not grasp the seriousness of the situation. All they were concerned about was having the best places for themselves in His kingdom. We might think how heartless they were!

But Jesus does not reproach them for the requests they made. Rather, He invites them to reflect on the consequences of their request: to be on Jesus' right and left in His glory means to pass through a similar trial as the one He must soon undergo! They were confident enough to say that they would be able and Jesus assured them that they would. St. James would be the first Apostle to be martyred and St. John would have to endure a long hard life for Him. But He could not promise them what they asked because these places had already been allocated.

When the rest of the Apostles heard about the brothers’ request they were indignant. Jesus chose to teach them a valuable lesson. If they wanted the first place they could only have it if they were ready to serve. Authority of any kind has only one purpose: service! How many of us fail to view authority in this light? Yes, Jesus was number one in the long history of humanity but He came to serve, “for the Son of Man Himself did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Lord Jesus, help us to be zealous for the things of Heaven. Do not allow our hearts to be ambitious but rather to be meek and gentle like Yours.

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