Jesus is the Suffering Servant of the Lord. Those who truly know him do not have illusions about him.
The Teacher gives the Twelve full disclosure. For he does not want them to have illusions about how much it costs to be an apostle. After all, this is what calling them friends means. That is, he tells them everything that he hears from his Father (Jn 15, 15). And he tells him that he is his beloved Son, and with him he is well pleased (Mk 1, 11; Lk 3, 22).
Jesus understands, then, that he is the Suffering Servant (Is 42, 1-4; 49, 1-6; 50, 4-7; 52, 13 – 53, 12). And so, since he is a friend, better than Jonathan, who was more true to David than to his own father (1 Sam 20), he does not hide it from his friends.
No, Jesus does not want his friends to have illusions. He does not only want them to have beliefs that match the truth. He also wants them to follow him as their true beliefs show him. This means, then, that they have to grasp that, if the world hates them, it does so since it hates him first (Jn 15, 18). And so, they have the chance to prove they are true friends as they become fit for him.
Illusions that cheat; illusions that give hope
And to be fit for Jesus is to follow him and put him first, and ahead of, those who are one’s own flesh and blood. It means besides one has to carry his or her cross, and follow him. There is such dare, for often to do anything good brings strife (SV.EN I:75). Jesus himself loses his life since he opts for the poor and the powerless (Father Maloney, 34). The cross is his as he speaks against injustice, selfishness and greed. And he also stands up to the powerful. No, one cannot be with the crucified masses and not end up on the cross.
And sadly, those who stand for the Good News, and its values, suffer at times at the hands of their own kin. But one should not let the concerns of the family trump the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
And so, the disciples who want to be served and seek seats of power fool themselves. For Jesus does not do so, and it should not be so among his own. On the other hand, the illusions that give rise to hope for a more just and human society, where there is fellowship, are those of service. And of giving up the body and of shedding blood. But one prepares for such heroism as one gives only a cup of cold water to one of the littles ones.
Lord Jesus, grant us who were baptized into your death to live a new life. May our wish to follow you be more than just one of many illusions. As Prophet Elisha shows, no one can outdo you in goodness; make us like you.
28 June 2020
13th Sunday in O.T. (A)
2 Kgs 4, 8-11. 14-16a; Rom 6, 3-4. 8-11; Mt 10, 37-42