A mother in today’s Gospel for the feast of St. James asks Jesus to let her two sons, James and John, sit by his side in the Kingdom. Jesus responds with a question to the two sons: “Can you drink the cup that I am to drink?” We can imagine the two men affirming that they can, perhaps with a show of bravado. And perhaps the mother added some proofs of her sons’ loyalty and strength.
Switch to another mother, the mother of Jesus. When it was time for Jesus to leave home and begin his mission, did Mary say to him, “Jesus, my son, can you drink the cup?” Jesus didn’t need to respond with words. Their eyes met, and both knew that they would both experience the cup of suffering. And you and me? Can we drink of the cup?