“The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” – Mark 10:39-40
Along the road, Jesus shares with his closest companions the truth of his mission; of how he will be handed over and treated with the upmost contempt. He will be spit upon, beaten, and put to death. Victory (resurrection) will come, but not without a heavy price. These words haven’t even had a chance to settle in our souls before James and John approach Jesus with their request, to sit at his right and left – places of honor – in his kingdom.
At first glance, we may think to ourselves, “How could they ask this from the one who just predicted a pretty grim future for himself? Didn’t they hear what he just said?”
Jesus responds, “Can you drink the cup I am to drink?”
At banquets, kings would offer their personal cup to esteemed guests for them to drink from. It was a gesture to honor the person. However, the chalice Jesus offers is a cup of complete and total sacrifice. It is cup measured out “at the hand of the Lord, the cup of his wrath”(Isaiah 51:17), for the expiation for our sins (CCC457).
For Jesus, there is no glory without the pain of sacrifice. For us to be his disciples, we too must be willing to ‘drink the cup’ and follow after the Master, who allowed himself to be stripped of everything on the Cross, except His love. This is what Jesus offers us a share in, every time we are stricken by others, we are called to love in return.
Lord Jesus, you offer us the chalice that we might share in your passion. Give us the grace and courage to respond to the struggles of life with heroic virtue, that others may come to know you, and believe.
May God Bless you.