Today’s fragment of the Gospel narrates an episode that places us in front of a situation which is not unusual in the various Christian communities. Indeed, John and James have been very generous leaving behind their households and their nets to follow Jesus the Christ. They have heard the Lord announce a Kingdom and offer eternal life but they still fail to understand the new dimension the Lord puts forward to them. It is because of this that their mother is going to ask for something which is good enough, but which doesn’t go beyond a simple human ambition: «Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom» (Mt 20,21).
Similarly, we listen to the Lord and follow Him, like the first disciples, but not always do we fully understand his message; we then sometimes follow our personal interests and ambitions within the Church. We forget that when we accept the Lord we have to give ourselves wholly and with full trust in Him; that we cannot think in obtaining the glory without having accepted the cross.
The answer Jesus gives them puts the stress precisely on this aspect: in order to have a share in his Kingdom what matters is to drink from his same «cup» (see Mt 20, 22), i.e. to be ready and willing to give our own life for the love of God and dedicate ourselves to the service of our brethren with the same merciful attitude that Jesus showed. In his first homily Pope Francis emphasized that in order to follow Jesus we have to carry our cross, because «when we make our way without the cross, when we confess a Christ without his cross, we are not disciples of the Lord».
As a consequence, following Christ demands from us great humility. From the minute of our Baptism we have been called to be his witnesses in order to transform the world. But this transformation will only be achieved if we are able to be servants of our brethren, with a spirit of great generosity and self-giving, but always joyful because we are following and making the Lord present.