Commentary on the Gospel of

Chas Kestermeier, S.J. - Creighton University's English Department

Today’s Gospel reading is very rich, although it might not look like it at first.  Jesus is heading toward Jerusalem and a painful, shameful death; he is clearly aware of it and still strides on.  Those closest to him are in “wonderment,” while those who follow are in fear. 

James and John, who are certainly among those who are closest to Jesus, nonetheless show real concern only over what their personal status will be after the death and resurrection of Christ: either they do not understand what Christ is talking about or cannot see how meaningless their concern actually is. 

Every one of us is moving, step by step and minute by minute, closer to our own deaths and our entering into the fullness of who we are, something we cannot understand completely now and something which should not cause us anxiety but joy – we are going home to God!  The simple fact that we cannot really face is that if we wish to go to heaven, to be with God in his bliss, we must die (looking at it from a very limited human viewpoint) or, if we look at it in terms of God’s love for us, we must be born into his eternal life, leaving behind all of our current concerns without a thought for them. 

As you might suspect, following Jesus into our own deaths not in fear but in a steady sense of wonder, gratitude, and even eagerness will take our passionate cooperation with the Holy Spirit and an earnest and regular prayer where we will enter into conversation with him.

The problem is how to actually do that, forgetting all about our safety and our concerns and daring to live in hope in God, but that is just what the Spirit is calling us to do, in complete trust. 


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