Today we read the famous gospel passage about the ambitious Apostles. We have previously reflected on the fact that we can hardly condemn James and John for their ambition, nor their mother for hers. What James and John wanted, and what their mother wanted for them, is what we all want: to be close to Christ and to reign with Him forever.
Both of the Zebedee brothers were, after all, preferred by Christ. He chose them to ascend Mt. Tabor with Him and to enter the Garden of Gethsemane, too. And their mother, to her credit, presumed in her request that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Messiah and the king of heaven.
Where everybody fell short—mother, sons, and the other disciples, as well—was in this: They did not like to listen to Jesus when He explained the hard truth, the inevitable facts of the divine plan, the actual way of salvation.
You believe that I am the Messiah? Good—because I am. Know this: the Messiah does His Messiahing by sorrow and suffering. The Messiah walks the earth as a pilgrim of death. Yes, I eat and drink; I befriend all; I reject nothing wholesome and human as I trod this path of death. But all of it, I will let go. All of this folderol which preoccupies you is really just straw that will be burned in an oven.
If you are at-home in this world, you are not with Me. Only one path leads to the place prepared for Me by My Father; there is only one road the Christ of God can take: rejection, mockery, scourges and spittle, my Body treated like a wooden warning sign and nailed to a tree. Then: the silent tomb.
You want to reign with me? Good. Your faith is true. There is no eternal kingdom but Mine. You will sit at my right and left. My throne is the cross. To get to my kingdom you have to hang on it and die.