Take a look at the gospel for today.
Jesus announces his impeding death: "The son of man will be handed over to the chief priest and the scribes, they will condemn him to death, hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the last day."
Most of what Jesus says in the above sentence is negative, tragic, unbelievable cruel and violent. Look at the words used to describe the impending reality:handed over, condemned, mocked, scourged, crucified.
what would you do if an intimate companion came up to you and said those things?
Where would your heart find its rest with such imagery presented to it?
Yet, all the mother of James and John could think about was what her sons were going to gain out of it. What was in it for her and her sons! This is partly due to the sons themselves. They were the ones in the know. Unless mom was eaves dropping, she only knew what are sons had told her.
How quickly the sons overlooked or looked pass the harsh reality forth coming.
I commend the mother for seeking to have her sons one at Jesus' right and left. These are noble desires that all parents should have for their children.
But, what about the suffering? What about the violence to be done to the one who they love and cherish?
How often are we like this mother and these sons and we look past the suffering? How often do we look past the cost of salvation? How often we treat grace as it was cheap?
We must not look past the suffering for it is only in the gift given can we truly begin to understand the beauty of grace...it is free but it is never cheap and nor should we cheapen it.
How often we want to get to the happy without going through the suffering? This is why we are so noncommittal in our society. We want to bypass any trial or suffering or diligent effort. How like the sons we want to rush ahead and sit at the right and left avoiding the true cost of such a reward.
We should always look toward the resurrection and glory to come, but looking past the suffering means we just don't get the depth, breath, length, and height of God's Love (Ephesians 3:18)
As I was journeying through Assisi visiting the Basilicas of St. Clare and St. Francis, I was struck by some of words I encountered near the crypt shared from St. Clare to her companions. As you go in to the crypt to view St. Clare's body still lying in state as it did in the 13th century, on the walls are her advice to her companions then and to us now. I was struck by one of her sayings.
It was the following:"totally love him who totally gave himself for love of us."
Totally love him who gave himself totally for love of you.
This is why we should not look past the suffering because then we look past the totality of the gift that ensures us of the breath, depth, height, and length of God's love.
Enter in to the suffering, never look past it.