This Sunday’s Gospel presents us the humility, which should be desired by the Lord’s disciples in order to acquire salvation. The main teaching of the gospel is the following: through humility one can accede from deadly sin to life giving holiness, said His Beatitude, Patriarch Daniel on 2 April 2017.
During his sermon, given at the Patriarchal Residence Chapel, the Patriarch of Romania explained the spiritual meaning of the message given by our Saviour Jesus Christ to His disciples.
The Gospel, His Beatitude said, presents the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ foretells His death and Resurrection. He reveals unto His disciples the mystery of His Holy Passions caused by the sins of humankind. His disciples do not understand properly what Christ is saying. They failed to understand the depth and the mystical meaning of the teaching of the Son of God. We see our own human nature in the behaviour of Christ’s disciples.
Reflecting on the Gospel passage, the Patriarch of Romania said that when the Saviour was foretelling His death and suffering to the disciples, two among them, Jacob and John, the sons of Zebedee, had the impression that Jesus was talking about a worldly kingdom. Christ allows the two disciples to say what they want, and then He rebukes and corrects them. In fact, Jacob and John asked our Lord Jesus Christ for something worldly, a passing glory.
The two disciples saw themselves sitting on the left and on the right side in Christ’s glory. Jesus understood this and told them that they do not know what they are asking for. Through this, He corrected them because they were thinking about a kingdom from this world. Then Jesus asks them: are you able to drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they answered: we are able (Mark 10:40).
According to the Holy Fathers, the Cup and the Baptism, about which Jesus was talking, prefigure His Sufferings during His Passion and His death on the Cross, meaning the baptism of blood. Jesus was referring to the mystery of suffering and death. The two disciples, showing more courage than humility, not knowing what they were saying, answered: yes we are able. Then our Lord Jesus Christ prophesied saying: You will indeed drink the cup that I drink and with the baptism that I am baptized with you will be baptized. Thus, he foretold the sufferings through which the Apostles would pass during the persecutions against the Christians.
By explaining the spiritual meaning of the passage, His Beatitude pointed out the fact that the other disciples became angry observing that John and Jacob where seeking honour and primacy. The attitude of the two disciples who were looking for vainglory brought envy and anger.
The disorder created among the disciples was scattered by Christ who is the perfect Confessor, the knower of souls and healer of passions. He summoned all the disciples and told them that in worldly understanding, primacy means dominion. The Saviour explained that primacy and leading others should be understood as a humble ministry for the profit of all.
He teaches us all that true honour, which is pleasing to God, is not gained through a selfish desire of primacy and worldly glory, but through humble love towards God and towards our neighbours.
The gospel text, Patriarch Daniel said, shows that even some of Christ’s disciples were tempted, as many others, by the passion of pride and primacy because they had not yet suffered, nor had they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ replaces the logic of power with the logic of ministry.
In his sermon, the Patriarch of Romania highlighted that from the Gospel reading we learn the fact that, as Christ’s Apostles, we can also be tempted by the passion of vainglory, by the desire of primacy, the desire to be appreciated more than others. This selfish desire awakens envy and anger in those around us. Thus, peace among people is weakened and the joy of true brotherly communion is diminished.
Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that humble love towards others and helping our neighbours represent the path to salvation. True dignity comes from one’s quality of being a humble minister of his neighbours, regardless of the rank, which they have in society.
At the end of the sermon, Patriarch Daniel focused on the life of Saint Mary of Egypt, as an example of humility and of man’s spiritual renewal through prayer, humbleness and fasting.
Translated by Bogdan Neacșiu
Edited by Basilica.ro
© Lumina Newspaper