At Matthew 20:20-23, we read about the request of the mother of James and John thus:
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
Here, Jesus is testing the commitment of the brothers to a life of suffering with and for Him . But, in spite of their having given a `Yes' answer, Jesus is non-committal about their place of choice in heaven . But then, what was His question to the brothers intended for?
- Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?
What, if any, interpretations are offered by the Catholic Church on the explicit purpose of this question to James and John?
I think my question needs a bit of elaboration. To me, the answer - whatever it be- given by the disciples to the challenge posed by Jesus , would not have in any manner, influenced His final reply (that it is for The Father to decide) . So, what was the need for Jesus to pose the challenge ? Was He just making use of the opportunity to orient them to the difficult life that lay ahead ?