“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 20:22b-23
This was a very gentle rebuke by Jesus. The mother of James and John asked Jesus for a favor. She wanted her sons to sit at His right and left in His Kingdom. Jesus gently said, “You do not know what you are asking” and then went on to speak the passage above.
“You do not know what you are asking.” Why did Jesus say this? In part, it’s because the path to glory, that is, the path to sitting at His right and left in the Kingdom, is the path of the Cross. It’s the path of freely embracing the sufferings of the Cross with Jesus. It’s not possible to enter into His glory without first walking with Him through His death.
So He asks these Apostles, “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” In other words, can you embrace my Cross? Can you embrace my suffering? Can you walk with me through my ultimate sacrifice and participate in that sacrifice by also offering your lives?
The Apostles affirm that they can and, indeed, they eventually do follow Jesus in His sacrifice by giving themselves completely to others.
Can you drink that chalice? Can you willingly accept the Cross in your life? Can you endure hardship, sacrifice and, perhaps, even persecution for being a follower of Jesus? Can you walk with Him through His suffering? If the answer is “Yes,” then you will share in His glory. Perhaps that glory will not be to sit at His right and left, but it will be a glory beyond your wildest imagination. It’s worth it and it’s an invitation that you will never regret accepting.
Lord, I do desire to drink the chalice You drank. I desire to receive Your Precious Body and Blood and in that reception to receive the strength and grace I need to follow You in Your sufferings. As I follow You in Your sufferings, help me also to share in Your glory. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint James, Apostle—Feast