Wednesday of the Second Week of LentLectionary: 232

Reading 1 JER 18:18-20
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,

“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.

It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,

nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.

And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;

let us carefully note his every word.”
Heed me, O LORD,

and listen to what my adversaries say.

Must good be repaid with evil

that they should dig a pit to take my life?

Remember that I stood before you

to speak in their behalf,

to turn away your wrath from them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 31:5-6, 14, 15-16
R. (17b) Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

You will free me from the snare they set for me,

for you are my refuge.

Into your hands I commend my spirit;

you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.

R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side,

as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.

R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

But my trust is in you, O LORD;

I say, “You are my God.”

In your hands is my destiny; rescue me

from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.

R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Verse Before The Gospel JN 8:12
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;

whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel MT 20:17-28
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,

he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,

and said to them on the way,

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,

and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests

and the scribes,

and they will condemn him to death,

and hand him over to the Gentiles

to be mocked and scourged and crucified,

and he will be raised on the third day.”
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons

and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.

He said to her, “What do you wish?”

She answered him,

“Command that these two sons of mine sit,

one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”

Jesus said in reply,

“You do not know what you are asking.

Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”

They said to him, “We can.”

He replied,

“My chalice you will indeed drink,

but to sit at my right and at my left,

this is not mine to give

but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

When the ten heard this,

they became indignant at the two brothers.

But Jesus summoned them and said,

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,

and the great ones make their authority over them felt.

But it shall not be so among you.

Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;

whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.

Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve

and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“Let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.” –Jeremiah 18:18
Those who persecuted Jeremiah were very “religious.” They were concerned about teachings from the priests, counsel from the wise, and messages from the prophets. James and John were also very “religious.” Motivated by their mother, they were not seeking big salaries or many possessions. They just wanted to work for the Church by being Jesus’ right-hand and left-hand men (Mt 20:21).
T. S. Eliot wrote in Murder in the Cathedral: “The greatest treason is to do the right thing for the wrong reason.” Christians probably do more right things than any other group in the world. However, we are constantly tempted to do the right things with mixed motives. We love God, but not with our whole hearts (see Mt 22:37). We love the Church, the poor, and the sick, but our selfishness still influences us. We often control the sinful desires of the flesh, but we stop short of crucifying our “flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24). We aspire to humility, but are proud of such an aspiration.
Next Sunday throughout the world, we pray the “First Scrutiny” for the catechumens. Let us ask the Father to scrutinize and purify our hearts.
PRAYER: Father, make me single-hearted (Mt 5:8).

PROMISE: “Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all.” –Mt 20:26-27

PRAISE: David gave up trying to “sit on the fence” and gave God top priority.


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