Some days when I read scripture, I just shake my head. Today is one of those days. All three readings, Jeremiah 18:18-20, Psalm 31 and the Gospel from Matthew 20:17-28 frustrate me. It is just like the world today. Everyone seems to want something or plotting to do something that is not right. There is little love, lots of greed and desire for self-seeking gratification.
In Jeremiah, “Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah…..And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word.”
In the Psalm, “I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side, as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.”
In the Gospel Jesus says, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And then again in the Gospel, the mother of the sons of Zebedee asks Jesus, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Working at a college, I hear a lot. People feel entitled with the need to exercise their “rights”. The desire to be better than others, to get ahead, to make more money, to find powerful positions and in general, to conquer the world. I guess that is life in the real world. Is this what is called planning or should I say plotting for success?
So I have learned a few things in my journey, so I offer from the same scripture passages the prayers of prophets and the wisdom of Jesus as the antidote for the worldly pursuit of success.
Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say. Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.
But my trust is in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
“Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Now I feel much better. Thank you Jesus.