Being humble of heart can be more difficult than we think. James and John wanted to sit at the right and the left hand of Jesus when He comes into his kingdom. In one sense it is a very normal human desire. We all want to be acknowledged for our achievements. We want to be praised for our hard work. We all want to be justly compensated for the efforts we put in. To go against this human desire can be very tricky. In fact, if we are to be honest with ourselves, it would be quite nice and convenient if we can receive even more than we actually deserve.
When Jesus says, “it is not mine to grant”, He not only wanted to help his disciples to understand that they should not be fighting for prestige among themselves, but show them his true humility. He is the saviour of the world, and yet He entrusts everything into the hands of His Father in heaven. This is not mine, but the one who sent me. My Father’s will be done. When we come to appreciate Jesus’ humble way of life, we pray that we too will see our work differently. These are not my achievements, but the achievements of Jesus who sent me. Or perhaps this is the hard work I have put in, but it was made possible because of the love and guidance I have received from my Lord. Through this conversion of our minds and hearts, we can learn to share in the humility of Christ, so as to share in His eternal glory.
Fr Francis Poon