In other scripture passages, Jesus’ question, “What do you wish?” is usually followed by the performance of some miracle—restoring sight to the blind or healing a paralytic. But in today’s gospel, when the mother of James and John tries to use her association with a “person in power” in order to obtain the fast-track to the Kingdom of God for her sons, Jesus denies her request. It’s an example of what happens when our wants are not in line with God’s desires for us or when our desires are worldly or superficial.

Sometimes, the answer is “no”; and sometimes, “no” is God’s will. When Jesus responds with, “you do not know what you are asking,” we have to remember that he loves us and he knows far better than we do what’s best for us. His “no” isn’t a punishment; it is preparation for what is to come. Our challenge today is to surrender to God’s “no” with gratitude, with thanksgiving, with grace.

—Jackie Lesiak serves as Assistant Principal for Professional Development at Creighton Prep, Omaha NE.