Gospel: Matthew 20:20-28 -
The mother of James and John came to Jesus with her sons, and she knelt down to ask a favor. Jesus said to her, “What do you want?” And she answered, “Here you have my two sons. Grant that they may sit, one at your right and one at your left, when you are in your kingdom.”
Jesus said to the brothers, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They answered, “We can.” Jesus replied, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right or at my left is not for me to grant. That will be for those for whom the Father has prepared it.”
The other ten heard all this and were angry with the two brothers. Then Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations act as tyrants, and the powerful oppress them. It shall not be so among you; whoever wants to be more important in your group shall make himself your servant. And if you want to be first, make yourself the servant of all.
“Be like the Son of Man who has come, not to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many.”
To listen is to make an empty space. But we are easily frightened by that. To make an empty space is to feel empty in some sense. It is to realize that the world goes on even when we stop working and fidgeting. It is to step back from one of the besetting flaws of today: activism. Activism is the laziness of the active person, just as passivity is the laziness of the passive person. The problem is that activism does not look like laziness at all; it look like a virtue, and our world praises it as if it were the supreme virtue. The parable tells us about the fruitfulness of the listening and receptive spirit.
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