Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sharing the Cup of Suffering

Feast of St. James

Sharing a cup is an intimate gesture. Most of us would not likely share our Coke with just anyone off the street. Even among family members it isn't a real common practice. Hardly ever will you find me offering my brother or my best friend a sip out of my beer mug! The sharing of a cup shows a trust and love that goes beyond friendship.

In today's Gospel Jesus offers to share His cup with James and John, and with us. But first He tells them and us that, "You do not know what you are asking." He is saying that you don't know what you are getting yourself into. By answering, "We are able" we are saying that it doesn't matter, we don't care, we want to be where He is no matter what.

A good analogy for this event is a wedding. Here, a bride and groom promise to stay together come what may. The priest questions - rich or poor, sickness or health, and so on. The priest echos the words of Christ in the fact that truly they do not know what they are getting into. They do no know what life has in store. They have an idea. They have a dream. They have fantasized about life together but they haven't a clue. The couple responds, "we are able."

In today's Gospel these Sons of Thunder don't have a clue but they are in love with Christ. Come what may, they want to be where He is. If He's going to Jerusalem, they are going too. If He is going to suffer, they are going too. Yet, like the bride and groom, James and John have no clue what all this really means, but they will. In the end they will find out what their vow to Him entails. They will know what it means to drink from His cup! And their relationship will survive the trial and shine like the stars for eternity.

At the beginning of your Christian life you said, "I am able." Don't give up on this relationship. Don't walk away from your true bridegroom. He is willing to share His cup with you, the cup of suffering. Ask any couple who has been married for any length of time and you will find that it is in drinking from this cup that they are strengthened, that the bond is forged - here and for here-after.

"Drinking the cup of another was a sign of deep friendship and of readiness to share a common destiny. It is to this intimate relationship that Our Lord invites those who wish to follow him. To take part in the glorious resurrection one has to share the Cross with him." - Francis Fernandez - In Conversation with God #2, 15.1

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