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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalm 31
Matthew 20:17-28

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the cup

"Such is the case with the Son of Man Who has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give His own life as a ransom for the many." —Matthew 20:28

Jesus asked James, John, and their mother: " 'Can you drink of the cup I am to drink of?' 'We can,' they said" (Mt 20:22). They did not understand what cup Jesus was referring to, but they assumed they could drink it. James did eventually drink of the cup of martyrdom (Acts 12:2) and John the cup of being persecuted (Rv 1:9). However, they refused this cup at first. James and John were chosen by Jesus to be with Him in His agony in the garden of Gethsemani, but as Jesus suffered and prayed to His Father about "the cup," James and John fell asleep (see Mt 26:38-40). Later that evening, James, John, and the other apostles refused to drink of the cup of suffering by abandoning Jesus as he was arrested (Mk 14:50).

This Lent, Jesus is asking us: "Can you drink of the cup?" (Mt 20:22) We know that by the grace of our Baptisms we can and must drink of the cup of suffering and of crucified love. Yet will we decide and are we deciding to drink of the cup? Naturally, no one wants to suffer. Supernaturally, however, love is more important than avoiding pain. May the love of Christ impel us to live no longer for ourselves (2 Cor 5:14-15) but to suffer and die for Him. "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life" for Jesus (see Jn 15:13).

Prayer:  Father, I choose love and reject selfishness.

Promise:  "Remember that I stood before You to speak in their behalf, to turn away Your wrath from them." —Jer 18:20

Praise:  Imitating Christ, Gloria loved her husband all the more when she was able to provide for him as breadwinner of the family when he became disabled.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 14, 2007

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