3 - 4 minutes readSermon of St. Ambrose for Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Lent: Mother of Zebedee

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Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

Bk. v to Gratian, on Faith, c. ii

Consider what it was that the mother of Zebedee's children came to Christ desiring, with, and for her sons. She was a mother, who, longing for the honour of her sons, preferred a request immoderate, and yet pardonable. She was a mother who, albeit stricken in years and comfortless, at an age when she had sore need of the strength of her offspring to help and keep her, was yet so earnest in godliness and motherly love, that she had liefer suffer the loss of her sons, that they might gain the reward of following Christ still, as we read they had already done, when, at the first call of the Lord, they left their nets and their father, iv. 21, 22.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum. Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Cap. xx. Ch. xx.
In illo tempore: Ascendens Jesus Jerosolymam, assumpsit duodecim discipulos secreto, et ait illis; Ecce ascendimus Jerosolymam, et Filius hominis tradetur principibus sacerdotum et scribis, et condemnabunt eum morte, et tradent eum gentibus ad illudendum, et flagellandum, et cruficigendum, et tertia die resurget. Tunc accessit ad eum mater filiorum Zebedæi cum filiis suis, adorans et petens aliquid ab eo. Qui dixit ei: Quid vis? Ait illi: Dic ut sedeant hi duo filii mei, unus ad dexteram tuam, et unus ad sinistram in regno tuo. Respondens autem Jesus, dixit: Nescitis quid petatis. Potestis bibere calicem, quem ego bibiturus sum? Dicunt ei: Possumus. Ait illis: Calicem quidem meum bibetis: sedere autem ad dexteram meam vel sinistram, non est meum dare vobis, sed quibus paratum est a Patre meo. Et audientes decem, indignati sunt de duobus fratribus. Jesus autem vocavit eos ad se, et ait: Scitis quia principes gentium dominantur eorum: et qui majores sunt, potestatem exercent in eos. Non ita erit inter vos: sed quicumque voluerit inter vos major fieri, sit vester minister: et qui voluerit inter vos primus esse, erit vester servus. Sicut Filius hominis non venit ministrari, sed ministrare, et dare animam suam redemptionem pro multis. At that time: Jesus going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles, to be mocked, and to be scourged, and to be crucified, and the third day he shall rise again. Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee, with her sons, adoring and asking something of him. Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom. And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to him: We can. He saith to them: Of my chalice, indeed, you shall drink; but to sit on my right hand, or left hand, is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my father. And the ten hearing it, were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them to him, and said: You know that the princes of the gentiles lord it over them; and they that are the greater, exercise power upon them. It shall not be so among you, but whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister; and he that will be first among you, shall be your servant. Even as the Son of Man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many.

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