The mother of James and John asked Jesus to give her sons places at his right and left when he came into his kingdom. By her request she was showing she was one of the many who thought that Jesus was going to lead a successful revolution.
The other Apostles resented the lady’s ambition for her sons. Apparently they thought that they had as much right to power as John and James had.
And, if those fine men all hungered for recognition, what about us? Are we all free from the desire to make a big step up? I sometimes tell close friends about times when I came close to advancement. Like, fifty years ago a young bishop named me his chancellor, and that’s as good as being a monsignor. I am fond as well of the memory from forty years ago when an old priest said I should have become a bishop. Oh! I honor that old man for having been so perceptive.
In the Gospel Jesus is telling us that if we want something we can really be proud of we should follow him in laying down our lives to help others and to give glory to God. That would be a greater honor than being the choice of those cardinals meeting in the Sistine Chapel later this month.