March 3, 2021
by Jay Carney
Creighton University's Theology Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalm 31:5-6, 14, 15-16
Matthew 20:17-28

Praying Lent Resources

The Second Week of Lent - 41 min. - Text Transcript

Doing Lent As A Family

Reconciliation and Healing

It’s easy to chuckle at the chutzpah of the mother of the sons of Zebedee. She even uses the imperative with Jesus. Can you imagine giving Jesus a direct order!? 

But the father in me has some sympathy for her audacious request. Which parent doesn’t want the best for their children? When my older daughter recently won a scholarship, I beamed with pride as her classmates and teachers applauded. When my kids compete in soccer, baseball, or speech tournaments, I hope they play well, but I also hope they win. When I think about my four children’s futures, I imagine them flourishing, not suffering. My kids sitting at Jesus’ left and right in the kingdom? Sure. Drinking from his chalice of suffering? Maybe not.

As Jesus’ witness shows us, though, the Christian chalice of suffering comes not through masochism, but as an offshoot of servant-leadership. Seeking martyrdom is just another form of spiritual pride. Rather, Jesus is calling me to get beyond my ego, to make myself humble and small, and to offer myself in self-giving, agapic service to my fellow sojourners on life’s pilgrimage.

When I read this gospel, I immediately thought of two bishops. Emmanuel Kataliko served as Archbishop of Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo between 1997 and his premature death in 2000. A powerful speaker who helped mobilize a city-wide strike in the midst of war, Kataliko was an unassuming man in person often mistaken for the gardener. When visitors would ask him about the whereabouts of the bishop, he would promise to inquire. He would then go inside the rectory, change into his clericals, and return to greet them. Kataliko’s predecessor, Msgr. Christophe Munzihirwa, S.J. (1926-1996), was also a humble servant-leader. Preferring the title “Muhudumu” (“watchman” or “shepherd”) to Archbishop, he would often say, “There are things that can only be seen with eyes that have cried.” He refused to leave his people even as Rwandan militias invaded his city, and he welcomed thousands of refugees fleeing violence. He ultimately shared in Jesus’ chalice, shot dead at a roadblock by one of the militias he had challenged in his final pastoral message, “Stand firm in charity.” (For more on Kataliko and Munzihirwa, see Emmanuel Katongole’s beautiful book, Born from Lament).

May Archbishop Kataliko and Muhudumu Munzihirwa intercede for us this Lent as we open ourselves to Jesus’ call to simplicity and servant-leadership, whether within our families, churches, communities, or the world at large.

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