Fr Paul Gooley reads today from the Gospel of Matthew (20: 17-28) in which Jesus says, ‘anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first you must be your slave— just as the Son of Man came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’.

Fr Paul says, we hear in today’s Gospel, ‘They will condemn the Son of Man to death…’.

The Gospel today gives us the third of Jesus’s great prophecies of the Passion – his death and resurrection – and it is immediately followed by the request of the mother of Zebedee’s sons for a high position in the Kingdom. The reality is that she has not listened to the words of Jesus!

Remember yesterday Jesus teaching about service and humility? In Mark’s Gospel (the earliest Gospel, which Matthew knew and used) it is worse, for there this request is made by the sons of Zebedee themselves after hearing what is to happen to Jesus.

Just like elsewhere the Gospel Jesus outlaws titles of honour like ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Father’, so now today’s passage underlines that the only dignity in the Christian Church is service.

The glory of ministry in the Church, whether it be archbishop, Eucharistic minister, catechist, altar-server or church-cleaner, is to be alert to the needs of others and help them to come closer to our heavenly Father.

Fr Paul invites us to reflect on today’s Gospel Lesson – During Lent how can I serve others?