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March 5, 2019: Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading Sirach 35:1-12
Gospel Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.”

The Evangelist doesn’t give us details surrounding Peter’s statement that Jesus’ disciples have given up everything to follow Him. But Jesus surely reads Peter’s heart before replying. Jesus is speaking to us disciples in the 21st century, as well. He explains the logic of discipleship. Then He sums up His teaching with a brief point for our meditation.

Is there some regret in Peter’s heart as he lays bare the sacrifice he’s made to follow Jesus? Jesus explains that both in this world and the next, a disciple’s sacrifice bears fruit. In “this present age”, material sacrifices are compensated by the superabundance of the Church’s graces and charisms. All the more, “in the age to come”, the consequence of following Jesus is eternal life. Jesus’ logic lays bare what St. Francis of Assisi expressed in his canticle: “It is in giving that we receive, and in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

Jesus then sums things up. “Many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Jesus seems to respond to Peter by saying: in loving your God and your neighbor first, you are putting God and neighbor first, and yourself last. But in opening ourselves by the act of loving, we are opening our hearts and minds to receiving divine love from God and His Church.