The Most Privileged Place

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As a parent of three young kids, I identify with the mother of James and John (elsewhere, Scripture suggests her name was Salome). First, it’s always fun to embarrass your children. Can’t you imagine the brothers blushing and grumbling “Mommmm!” under their breath? Second, my wife and I always want the best for our kids, and we’ll do pretty much whatever it takes in that pursuit. Just in the category of “where our children sit,” we have sent multiple emails to multiple teachers over the years to make sure our school-aged daughter has a good seat in class where she can see everything clearly. I understand Salome’s instincts.  

Jesus also wants what is best for James and John, but he flips Salome’s formulation on its head: “What’s best is not to sit in the place of privilege, but to come down off your perch and serve others. That’s what I’m here for.” Of course, as parents, we must prioritize the needs of our children, but what should we really want for them? Like Salome, we can default to prioritizing things the world says are most valuable: good grades and diverse extracurriculars that will lead them to prestigious colleges, on-trend clothes and gadgets.  

Today, Jesus invites us to reflect on different questions: How well do our kids treat their classmates, even ones they don’t particularly like? What opportunities are we giving them to serve the community? Do they feel loved and cherished just as they are? This Gospel nudges all of us—whether we have kids or not—to fix our minds and hearts on the things that matter to the Lord.  

© Liturgical Press.

Michael Jordan Laskey

Michael Jordan Laskey is the communications director for the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States and the author of The Ministry of Peace and Justice.

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