Matthew 20:20 onwards
Then the mother of Zebedee's sons, (James and John), came to Jesus with her sons and knelt down to make a request to Him. “What do you want?” He inquired. She answered, “Declare that in Your kingdom one of these two sons of mine may sit at Your right hand, and the other at Your left.”
You probably know this story. Read the whole paragraph in Matthew's gospel. Jesus replies to the woman, “to sit at My right or left is not Mine to grant." Only God decides who sits where in Heaven.
Let us consider what happened here. The mother did nothing wrong. She loved her children so much that she wanted them protected and taken care of by Jesus. If we are honest, we have all prayed dearly for someone we love; a spouse, parents, children, friends or someone else. We prayed earnestly that God takes care of them. I pray for you my readers often.
Remember that at the time of Jesus the world was a troubled place. Just like now I suppose. Israel was occupied by a foreign Roman power. Some of the Jews, like King Herod and the Jewish elders, to some extent collaborated with the occupiers; whereas the population was divided in their views. Some believed that Jesus was a political leader come to overthrow the Romans.
So this mother, wanting to protect her children, places them in Christ's care. Very much as you would do for a loved one.
This is what prayer is all about. Saying a good word on behalf of someone. Pleading for them even. Prayer is the greatest gift we can give to or receive from someone. It shows a generosity of spirit and true faith that Someone is listening to our pleadings.
When Catholics recite the "Hail Mary" they say, "Holy Mary ... pray for us sinners".
Some non-Catholics confuse this and believe that Catholics pray to Saints. In fact, many Catholics confuse this also. The Catholic Church has a lot of teaching to do on this!
The reality is that Catholics do (should) ask the Saints to pray for them. "Holy Mary pray for us".
Some Catholics believe that by placing flowers or lighting candles by statues of Saints they will obtain favours. Again, this is wrong; and the Catholic Church is remiss in its teaching on this. You cannot buy favours from God, Jesus or the Saints. They don't need your flowers, candles or sacrifice. You do this as a sign of love and respect; not to purchase favours. It's very much like placing flowers and candles by graves or photos of loved ones.
I often ask Saints to pray for me; and ask Jesus to mediate for me. He is the only mediator between man and God, in that He is the only Son of God Who died and rose again for us to be put right with God.
Yes, I need His mediation. Yes I need the Saints' prayers for me; as much as I need your prayers for me. I need all the help I can get.
Praying for you all. God bless.