In the gospel for today’s Mass, we come to one of the saddest little pieces of dirty politics and greed in all of Scripture. The woman named Salome, the wife of the fisherman Zebedee and mother of the apostles James and John, comes to Our Lord. She has a favor to ask. What is it? he inquires. She wants her two sons who are among the closest associates of Jesus, to be given seats at his right and left in his kingdom.
Notice: HIS kingdom. The concept of a KINGDOM is all-important here. If a man has a kingdom and it can be called HIS kingdom, then he must be a king or something like one. That means power and money. It also means the control of legislation and law-enforcement. You can’t have many kings in one kingdom; there must be one or very few at the top of the pile. So Salome is asking these things for her two sons: power, wealth, and legal superiority. Why should HER two boys get it all? Aren’t there twelve of these closest associates of Jesus who will one day be called “apostles”? And the other ten lose no time in letting it be known that they resent her trying to acquire these political plums for her sons, to the exclusion of the others. It doesn’t take long for politics and money to sow the seeds of discord, rivalry, bitterness.
The Christian way is not a way of money, power, superiority, rivalry, discord. “It shall not be so among you,” he tells them. “Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant . . . The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Let us go through life constantly addressing to others, either openly or in our own minds and hearts these questions: May I help you? How can I be of help, of service to you? I want to serve Christ in you. If we will live like this, we will put the gospel of Our Divine Lord into practice in our own lives, and will be truly followers of Jesus. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: Father Brown composed this message some years ago.