Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
March 11th, 2009

Howie Kalb, S.J.

Jesuit Community
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalm 31:5-6, 14, 15-16
Matthew 20:17-28

It’s difficult today to pick up a newspaper, magazine or dial in a TV program engaged in some controversial article and not find the Catholic Church on the wrong side of the cultural majority.  It could be a question of capital punishment, abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, immigration, population control or dozens of other social and scientific dilemmas.

Some of us get very offended and defensive that we Catholics are always the popular game for caustic cartoons and snide jokes because of our positions.  Maybe if we just reflected on today’s reading we would understand what’s happening.  It’s nothing new.  Jesus told us this would happen since such attacks have always been the consequence for those who follow him.

In our first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah, he had the task from God to explain to his people what their idolatrous conduct was going to cost them.  Not a very popular message.  So he lamented that his listeners hoped to “destroy him by his own tongue, let us carefully note his every word.”  Jeremiah questioned why good was repaid by evil?  Why his life was threatened by destruction in a pit?  Why he had to be the subject of ridicule and mockery?       

In today’s Gospel, Jesus alerts his twelve disciples, that in Jerusalem he will be handed over to the Jewish and Gentile authorities, mocked, scourged and crucified.  Because he followed his Father’s plan Jesus himself was subjected to mockery, ridicule and even death.

We all know the account of the two disciples who ambitioned the right and left places next to Jesus in the Kingdom.  He simply asked his two aggressive followers “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”  They said they would and they did.  The content of the chalice was mockery, ridicule and possible death. 

For us the challenge is to do the same.  So we can’t be surprised when we find ourselves experiencing the mockery and ridicule that Jeremiah, Jesus and his apostles all had to suffer before us.

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