Wednesday 3 March 2021

Just smile today


Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’

MATTHEW 23: 20ff


Lots of people seem to get a nickname, some welcome, others not so welcome, and a nickname given in childhood can be difficult to shake off, even in later life. Some nicknames are affectionately given whilst others may have an aspect of bullying about them. James and John were known by Jesus as ‘Boanerges’ – ‘Sons of Thunder.’ Perhaps they argued a lot, as brothers often do, or they made an impression in preaching, like thunder making its mark. Whatever the reason, they cause a little anger of their own amongst the other disciples for asking such a favour as they do.

They want a guaranteed place in Christ’s Kingdom, either side of him, his brothers in arms. Their mother gets involved, too. After all, she wants good things for her sons, wants to see them set up for life, eternal life as it happens. In response to the Apostle’s anger, Jesus says, “Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Two days ago, we celebrated St David who was renowned for saying, “Be joyful and keep the faith. Do the little things that you have heard about and seen me do.” Yes, it’s the small things that are often so important. In seeking greatness we must serve others. In being first we must put ourselves last, like Jesus who gave his life as a ransom for many. “Peace begins with a smile,” said St Teresa of Calcutta. What could be so small? What could be so great? So, maybe, with all the great things we think may be asked of us, perhaps all we need to do is just smile today.


God our Father, help us to live humbly and serve lovingly, that our greatness may be found in our smallness. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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