Jesus had been talking about this kingdom, his kingdom, for a couple of years at this point, but people still weren’t getting it.
They had always expected that the Messiah would lead a revolution, a political and military revolution.
In the first part of the reading, Jesus explained that in this kingdom everything is upside down: the last will be first and the first will be last. Then, he told them the plan: “I’m going to die soon and be resurrected.”
Then came the mother of James and John: “Can my boys be at your side… on your right and on your left when you enter your kingdom?” Recall the crucifixion, there were two men with him, one on his right and one on his left. One would be with Jesus in paradise.
The disciples (and their mothers) did not understand what the kingdom was, even at this point in their journey.
We still struggle with understanding God’s Kingdom. Jesus did start a revolution, but it began in earnest on the cross and those disciples became the revolutionaries who changed the world. When we choose the life of discipleship, we join that same movement. We are not called to just be nice people, we have been called to create upheaval and uprising even today, until at least it is “on earth as it is in heaven” and our God truly reigns.
In Matthew’s Gospel, this is the last story before we get to Palm Sunday (we’re going to skip ahead tomorrow). Jesus wa leaving Jericho, the lowest city on earth, for Jerusalem where he would be greeted as King.
Before leaving, however, two blind men recognized and acknowledged who he was and asked for mercy. The blind men saw what even the disciples struggled to understand: his true identity and why he came. He was sent to recover the sight of the blind (among other things, see below).
Kneel before the Lord today and ask that God remove the scales from your eyes, that you might see God more clearly and understand more fully what you have been called to.
Kyrie eleison (Κύριε, ἐλέησον)
Lord, have mercy
Christe eleison (Χριστέ,
Christ, have mercy
“The Spirit of the
Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” – Luke 4:18-19