Thought of the day
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday of the Second week of Lent

"Everyone who exalts himself..."

“It is vain for you to rise early” says one of the Psalms (126[127],2)... Such were the sons of Zebedee who had already selected a position for themselves, one at his right, one at his left, before they had undergone humiliation in imitation of the Lord's Passion. They wanted to “rise before the Light”... Peter rose before the Light, too, when he advised the Lord not to suffer for us. The Lord, in fact, had spoken of his saving Passion and humiliation, and Peter, who only a short while before, had confessed that Jesus was the Son of God, was seized with dismay at the thought of his death and said to him: “God forbid, Lord! Save yourself. No, that will never happen to you!” (cf. Mt 16,22). He wanted to rise before the Light, give advice to the Light. But what did the Lord do? He made him rise after the Light by saying to him: “Get behind me”... “Get behind me so that I can walk before you and you can follow. Take the road that I am taking instead of wanting to show me the road on which you yourself want to walk”...

Why, then, sons of Zebedee, do you want to rise before the Day? That is the question we need to ask them. They won't be annoyed since these things were written about them so that we, too, might know how to keep ourselves from the pride they fell into. Why want to rise before the Day? It is in vain. Do you want to rise before being humbled? Your Lord himself, he who is your light, was humbled so as to be raised. Hear what Paul says: “Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave. Coming in human likeness..., he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this God greatly exalted him” (Phil 2,6f.).

Saint Augustine