1 March 2022- Tuesday of Week 8
1st Reading: 1 Peter 1:10-16
The Passion of Christ was revealed, and we must share in it
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look!
Therefore prepare for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Responsorial: Psalm 98
R./: The Lord has made known his salvation
Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvellous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm. (R./)
The Lord has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. (R./)
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise. (R./)
Gospel: Mark 10:28-31
Repaid a hundred times over for anything we have given up for Jesus’ sake
Peter began to say to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age – houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Ready for action
The encouraging style of pope Francis echoes the pastoral style of Saint Peter. In a pep-talk to the newly-baptised adults who lived under the reign of mad, megalomaniacal Nero, Peter urged them “discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace of Jesus Christ.” His epistle sets the bar very high for all the baptized. It affirms our sense of the universal vocation to holiness and to a personal bond with Christ. Peter’s message is more inspirational than many later papal encyclicals, purporting to end discussion on controversial issues of current concern. It would help our Church today to return to those basic principles of Christian living, building on the Risen Christ. Let theologians and all thinking people freely explore how he can shed light on the hot topics of today.
In the Gospel, Jesus promises a rich reward to all who have sacrificed their comfort for his sake. Peter and the others followed the example of the One who identified with the poor, encouraged them and spoke up in their defence. The lifestyle of Gospel messengers will not be opulent but frugal. Like Jesus, they will take risks when reaching out, even — literally or figuratively — “touch the leper” and be be branded as unclean. But such compassion bonds us with Jesus who declared that “The last shall be first.” The “hundredfold” now in this age will presumably have to be taken in the sense of spiritual joy in doing worthwhile work, rather than as a promise of material wealth in this present life, pace our Calvinist brethren, some of whom still link Christian virtue too closely with material prosperity.
What about us, Lord?
Today’s gospel reports Peter’s frank question, “What about us? We have left everything and followed you.” Peter and the others had given up a great deal to stay with Jesus. They wondered if it was really worth it all. We too have responded to his call, though not so radically as those first disciples, who left their livelihood and family for a very uncertain future. On moments of doubt we may be tempted to ask: “Is it worth the effort, this struggle to live by the gospel day in and day out.”
The clear answer is, “yes, it is worth the effort.” He promises that when we really give of ourselves for his sake, we will gain far more than we give up. We will enjoy a new experience of family, far beyond the confines of our blood family. We will find ourselves journeying with others who are trying like ourselves to live the Christian way. We will experience the warmth of the church, the community of the Lord’s followers. This includes not only those of us still on our pilgrim way, but all who have passed beyond this life, including the saints, that “great cloud of witnesses.”