Today’s Gospel theme is, fittingly, frustration. The saying goes, “What would Jesus do?” And while Matthew invites us to explore that more deeply, I find myself pondering a different question, “What did the disciples do?” Sometimes this helps me make sense of my very human responses to things like the pandemics of racism and Covid, or my own resistance to growth and change. Of course, I prayerfully work towards a life more holy, more rooted in the desire to be Christ-like. But, when I start with the disciples, I become aware that Jesus invites me to wholeness; to leadership.
I can feel the disciples’ frustration. They’re afraid. Jesus is not only sharing that he will die, but describes his pain, suffering and crucifixion. I imagine being a disciple, hearing this:
I’ve left everything to follow this man—my job, my family, my comfort! And now, I’m going to lose him? And who is this mother making this request on behalf of her sons?!
The passage says, “When the ten heard this, they became indignant.” Frustrated.
Jesus asks, “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” This is a big ask, knowing his impending execution—a death that holds the sin of a society that resists and terrorizes what they fear. We see this all too often. Suddenly, following Jesus takes on a whole new meaning. Am I willing to give of myself, completely, in response to the realities of our world today—not just when it’s comfortable or convenient? To lead is to act against the grain.
Contemplative Leaders in Action is a spirituality and leadership formation program. Our curriculum moves young adults through a process of discerning and enacting Ignatian leadership. This Gospel offers a pretty profound definition of what this is—drinking from the same cup as Jesus. A cup of holy frustration. Drinking this cup demands a daily commitment; sometimes, minute by minute. It’s not performative allyship. It’s not the kind of advocacy that also ensures my privileges remain intact. It’s looking within before righteously blaming others. This Lent, will you drink this cup of holy frustration, to follow Jesus towards new life?
- Imagine yourself, a disciple in today’s society. What tires and frustrates you?
- What does drinking from the same cup as Jesus look like today?
- Where are you called to deepen your commitment?
Elise Gower is drawn to the art of sacred storytelling. She is committed to individual and collective antiracism work and fostering connections between spirituality and LGBTQ+ identity.