My boys-Feast of St James the Apostle – Matthew 20: 20-28
Mrs Zebedee was quite a sassy woman and that mixed with an ambitious plan for her sons. It seemed to her that Jesus was rapidly giving away ministerial portfolios. Peter had already been given the keys of the kingdom with power to bind and loose anything on earth. So the prime ministerial berth was taken and now one had to move in fast to get anywhere close to the other plum postings.
Mrs Zebedee must have thought, why not go for the seats on the left and right. Home and finance minister is not so bad for “my boys”. So she waltzed into the presence of the Master for she knew that up to her sons, they would dare not ask Jesus for any such favour. Her request seems anything but polite; “Command them to sit at your right and left”. “They would dare not disobey Jesus if He commanded them”, she must have thought.
Power can make us all go a bit crazy and Mrs Zebedee is not too far in the game. That’s not the kingdom that Jesus envisaged. His was a kingdom of servant leadership and He was the servant par excellence. It was a long time before the words of Jesus actually sunk in, for while He was alive they were all fighting for special places.
The Gospels tell us that when they ten disciples heard of James and John’s plan to upstart them, they were indignant. Their indignation did not stem from the fact that the sons of thunder dared to disturb the master with such ‘trivialities’; their indignation came from the fact that James and John had beaten them to the power game.
It was a long time coming before Mrs Zebedee or her sons understood the reality of the kingdom of God but when they did they ended up as poster boys for the Church. St James was beheaded in Judea in the year 44 CE. Some Christians believe that his disciples carried his body by sea to Padrón on the Galician coast. They then buried his body under what is now the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Mrs Zebedee would be proud of her sons, her boys did well.
Fr Warner D’Souza
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