At that time Peter began to tell Jesus, «We have given up everything to follow you». Jesus answered, «Truly, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands for my sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive his reward. I say to you: even in the midst of persecution he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time and in the world to come eternal life. Do pay attention: Many who now are first will be last, and the last, first».
Though this philosophical message that the gospel communicates to us may seems to be quite disturbing, paradoxically holds the very sense of life discernment. If we don’t learn to empty ourselves, we can’t fill our interiority.
Jesus is proposing to us to choose the King and the kingdom will be ours. Since the king is ready to be with us, it is simple that we learn to give up all those which hold us, to grow towards the source of our life.
The discernment process begins with the true knowledge of ourselves and all those surround us. Without the self-knowledge, it is very difficult to discern and take decision. This self-knowledge will never pushes us in front, rather it will teach us about the humility (true humility) and the importance of being humble before God and before His people.
«Truly, there is no one who has left house for my sake and for the Gospel who will not receive his reward in the present time and in the world to come eternal life»
Fr. Jordi SOTORRA i Garriga
(Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, just like that landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard, the Lord is seeking disciples, followers and friends. His, is a universal call. A captivating offer, the Lord entrust us with! On one condition, though. One condition that may dishearten us: «For my sake and for the Gospel» you are to leave «house, brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands» (cf. Mk 10:29).
But, is there any compensation? Shall there be any reward? Shall we make any gain out of it? Peter, in the name of the Apostles, reminds the Master: «We have given up everything to follow you» (Mk 10:28), as if asking: what benefit shall we get?
The Lord's promise is very generous: «but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time (…) and in the age to come eternal life» (Mk 10:30). He cannot be surpassed as far as generosity. But He adds: «even in the midst of persecution». Jesus is very realistic and He does not want to deceive anybody. To be a disciple of his, if we are truly so, will bring us troubles and problems. However, Jesus considers persecutions and troubles a reward, for they help us to grow, if we accept and live through them as an opportunity to gain in maturity and responsibility. Whatever act of sacrifice makes us more like Jesus Christ who, by dying in the Cross, saves us.
We have always time to revise our life and get closer to Jesus Christ, especially during the times of Advent and Lent. Through prayer and the sacraments, these times and all times, we can find out whether we are amongst the disciples He is seeking, and decide which our answer must be to that call. Next to radical responses (such as those from the Apostles) there are others. For many, “to leave house, brothers or sisters, or father or mother…” will just mean whatever unable us to live deeply in Jesus' close friendship and, as a consequence, become his testimony before the world. And this is urgent, don't you think so?