one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
As I proclaimed this gospel at morning mass, having trudged through newly shoveled paths from the fresh 15 inches of snow in the blizzard yesterday, I pondered my jealousy for all those down south who serve in a much warmer climate (shout out to Fr Casey). I was also struck with the idea of the mother's intercession for her sons, and the very obvious attempt of the sons to gain power through it. They answer quickly, "we can!"
This led me to consider mine and others' motivations for working out and leading this healthier lifestyle. At the very outset attaining the goal of being fit looks tantalizing. We can shout "I can!" But very quickly the bro culture and the fitness world can shut us down because there is always someone better or stronger, and the goal that you set out with seems more unrealistic or even unappealing. The Lord's rebuke on servant leadership also can provide a way out of this motivation: "maybe I should forgo my original attempt at the gym because I need to serve my people?"
I think there's a false dichotomy created here, and an opportunity for renewed motivation. We serve our people when we are striving to be good servants, heathy and whole. To lead a healthy lifestyle takes a whole lot of self-sacrifice. It denies a lot of the pleasures the world would want to feed us with. (Ask any fitness buff if drinking will help you with a six pack figure and they will laugh at you).
I look to the role of the mother of the sons of Zebedee, interceding. And then I remember our Blessed Mother, the mother of Jesus and the mother of the clergy. She is the queen mother, the one who intercedes for all of her priest sons. She helps us to drink the chalice, that is, bear the weight of our ministry. And if she wants us to be true servant leaders, she will intercede in our daily struggle to lead a healthy lifestyle so that we may serve in this life for as long as we are called to serve.
What's my motivation today? Well I'm certainly offering up a Hail Mary with whatever I have planned. Mary, keep me motivated to do what I'm called to do, to serve with all my heart, strength, body, and soul.