Tuesday, May 29, 2018
1) Opening prayer
guide the course of world events
and give Your Church the joy and peace
of serving You in freedom.
You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Mark 10:28-31
Peter began to say to Jesus, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first."
• In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus spoke about the conversation among the disciples about material goods: to get away from things, to sell everything, to give it to the poor and to follow Jesus. Or rather, like Jesus, they should live in total gratuity, placing their own life in the hands of God, serving the brothers and sisters (Mk 10:17-27). In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains how this life of gratuity and service of those who abandon everything for Him, for Jesus and for the Gospel, should be (Mk 10:28-31).
• Mark 10:28-31: A hundred times as much, as well as persecutions too. Peter observes: “We have left everything and followed You”. It is like saying: “We have done what the Lord asked of the young rich man. We have abandoned everything and we have followed You. Explain to us how should our life should be.” Peter wants Jesus to explain more of the new way of living in service and gratuity. The response from Jesus is beautiful, profound and symbolic: “In truth there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children or land for My sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times as much, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land, with persecutions too, now in the present time and in the world to come. Many who are first will be last and the last, first”. The type of life which springs from the gift of everything is an example of the Kingdom which Jesus wants to establish (a) to extend the family and to create community; it increases a hundred times the number of brothers and sisters. (b) It produces the sharing of goods, because all will have a hundred times more houses and land. Divine Providence incarnates itself and passes through the fraternal organization, where everything belongs to everyone and there are no longer persons who are in need. They put into practice the Law of God which asks “that there be no poor among you” (Dt 15:4-11). This was what the first Christians did (Acts 2:42-45). It is the perfect living out of service and gratuity. (c) They should not expect any privilege in return, no security, no type of promotion. Rather, in this life they will have all this, but with persecutions. Because in this world, organized on ego and the special interests of groups and people, those who want to live a gratuitous love and the gift of self will be crucified as Jesus was. (d) They will be persecuted in this world, but in the future world they will have eternal life, which the rich young man spoke about.
• Jesus is the choice of the poor. A two-fold slavery characterized the situation of the people of the time of Jesus: the slavery from the politics of Herod supported by the Roman Empire and maintained by a well organized system of exploitation and repression, and the slavery of the official religion, maintained by the religious authority of the time. This is why the clan, the family, the community, were all being disintegrated and a great number of the people were excluded, marginalized, homeless, and having no place in religion or in society. This is why several movements arose which were seeking a new way of living in community: the Essene, the Pharisees, and later on, the Zealots. In the community of Jesus there was something new which made it different from other groups. It was the attitude toward the poor and the excluded. The communities of the Pharisees lived separated. The word “Pharisee” means “separated”. They lived separated from impure people. Many Pharisees considered people ignorant and cursed (Jn 7:49), and in sin (Jo 9:34). Jesus and His community, on the contrary, lived together with these excluded persons who were considered impure: publicans, sinners, prostitutes, and lepers (Mk 2:16; 1:41; Lk 7:37). Jesus recognizes the richness and the values which the poor possess (Mt 11:25-26; Lk 21:1-4). He proclaims them blessed, because the Kingdom is theirs - it belongs to the poor (Lk 6:20; Mt 5:3). He defines His mission: “to proclaim the Good News to the poor” (Lk 4:18). He himself lives as a poor person. He possesses nothing for Himself, not even a rock where to lay His head (Lk 9:58). And to those who want to follow Him to share His life, He tells them to choose: God or money! (Mt 6:24). He orders that they choose in favor of the poor! (Mk 10:21). The poverty which characterized the life of Jesus and the disciples also characterized the mission. Contrary to other missionaries (Mt 23:15), the disciples of Jesus could take nothing with them, neither gold, nor money, nor two tunics, nor purse, nor sandals (Mt 10:9-10). They had to trust in the hospitality offered to them (Lk 9:4; 10:5-6). If they would be accepted by the people, they should work like everybody else and live from what they would receive as wages for their work (Lk 10:7-8). They should take care of the sick and those in need (Lk 10:9; Mt 10:8). Now they could tell the people: “The Kingdom of God is very near to you!” (Lk 10:9).
4) Personal questions
• In your life, how do you practice as Peter did: “We have left everything and have followed you”?
• Gratuitous sharing, service, acceptance to the excluded, are signs of the Kingdom. What do I do to live this? When do I do it? Can there be more?
• Look inside. What is the real motivation? Is it from love, or for gain? Is it a “transaction”, gaining extra “credits” for the next life? Is pride involved? Are there other reasons?
• Worldy wisdom teaches one has to be powerful, a “mover and shaker”, to influence others. How does one influence others when they have given away everything and in the world’s eyes are poor? At what point, or in what way, would one’s poverty speak louder and be more influential?
5) Concluding Prayer
The whole wide world has seen
the saving power of our God.
Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,
burst into shouts of joy! (Ps 98:3-4)