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Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” Matthew 20:22–23
It’s easy to have good intentions, but is that enough? The Gospel passage above was spoken by Jesus to the brothers James and John after their loving mother came to Jesus and asked Him to promise her that her two sons would sit on His right and left when He took up His kingly throne. Perhaps it was a bit bold of her to ask that of Jesus, but it was clearly a mother’s love that was behind her request.
However, it’s important to note that she didn’t actually realize what she was asking. And if she did realize what she was asking, she may not have asked Jesus for this “favor” at all. Jesus was going up to Jerusalem where He would take up His throne of the Cross and be crucified. And it was in this context that Jesus is asked if James and John could join Him on His throne. This is why Jesus asks these two Apostles, “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” To which they respond, “We can.” And Jesus confirms this by telling them, “My chalice you will indeed drink.”
They were invited by Jesus to follow in His footsteps and to courageously give their lives in a sacrificial way for the love of others. They were to abandon all fear and were to be ready and willing to say “Yes” to their own crosses as they sought to serve Christ and His mission.
Following Jesus is not something we ought to do half way. If we want to be a true follower of Christ then we, too, need to drink the chalice of His Precious Blood deep into our souls and to be nourished by that gift so that we are ready and willing to give of ourselves to the point of a total sacrifice. We need to be ready and willing to hold nothing back, even if that means the greatest of sacrifice.
True, very few people will be called to be literal martyrs like these Apostles were, but we are ALL called to be martyrs in spirit. This means that we must be so completely given over to Christ and His will that we have died to ourselves.
Reflect, today, upon Jesus asking you this question, “Can you drink of the chalice that I am going to drink?” Can you willingly give everything, holding nothing back? Can your love of God and others be so complete and total that you are a martyr in the truest sense of the word? Resolve to say “Yes,” drink the chalice of His Precious Blood and daily offer your life in total sacrifice. It’s worth it and you can do it!
Lord, may my love for You and others be so complete that I hold nothing back. May I give my mind only to Your Truth and my will to Your Way. And may the gift of Your Precious Blood be my strength on this journey so that I may imitate Your perfect and sacrificial love. Jesus, I trust in You.