This Gospel reminds me of the imagery of dining with Herod and dining with Jesus that a Jesuit friend uses to characterize the meditation on the Two Standards from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In response to the request by John and James, Jesus references the Gentile ruler lording over them. I can imagine James and John discussing positions of honor and esteem at one of Jesus’ upper room suppers. Jesus on the other hand will soon assume the role of servant/slave and wash the feet of the apostles at the Last Supper.
We often see competing values of honor and pride versus servitude and humility. Choosing the values of Jesus seems easy, but living the values can be a challenge. As we learn from this passage even those closest to Jesus struggled with understanding and living his message. How will servitude and humility be present in your life today?
—Jim Sweany is a Spiritual Director in the Ignatian tradition. He is associated with the Chicago Region Ignatian Volunteer Corps as a Spiritual Animator, reflector and Advisory Board Chair. He also directs the Spiritual Exercises for the SEEL program at Loyola University.