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May 30: Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading 1 Peter 1:18-25
Gospel Mark 10:32-45

“You do not know what you are asking.”

Throughout the course of the four accounts of the Gospel, most of the apostles take turns appearing quite clueless. Today the cluelessness of James and John (the Beloved Disciple!) is on display.

Today’s Gospel passage begins with Jesus foretelling His passion, death, and resurrection. This momentous proclamation is met with complete self-interest on the part of the sons of Zebedee. When they express to Jesus their request, He replies with words that you and I need to commit to memory because of how often, likely, each of us deserves to hear them: “You do not know what you are asking.”

Although there are commonly four types of prayer through which a Christian speaks to God—petition, adoration, contrition, and thanksgiving—the early stages of our spiritual life tend to be dominated by our speaking to God, rather than listening to God. In our speaking to Him, we tend to focus more on petition than the other three types of spoken prayer. To too many of our petitions, the words of Jesus to James and John are the only fitting reply: “‘You do not know what you are asking.’”

Here’s a very good petition to offer to God in your prayers today: “Help me, Lord, to focus on Your providential Will rather than my own self-focused will, and help me to listen for your Word rather than to voice my own.”