Sacrificial Love

Written by Sr. Rosemary O.P.

Today's Gospel follows yesterday's story of the young man who had a hard time giving up his possessions to follow Jesus. Peter witnessed this scene and heard Jesus say how hard it was for someone so attached to material possessions to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Peter's mind began working, and, characteristically, he couldn’t keep his tongue still. He contrasts himself to that young man, telling Jesus that he and his friends had given up everything, had accepted the call.  Now he wanted to know what they were going to get out of it. 

Jesus looks at him with patience and love, and answers him with 3 points:

  1. Jesus tells him that no one gives up anything for his sake and the Gospel's sake without getting it back a hundredfold.  In the early Church, this was literally true.  When one became a Christian, doors were slammed in their faces, and families disowned them. Home, friends, and loved ones were lost. But following Christ also meant entry into the Christian Church. This brought people into a far greater and wider family than one had ever left. They now had a spiritual family.  How blessed we are to have this parish faith community. May we never take it for granted.
  2. Besides the hundredfold of this spiritual family, Jesus also adds two big words that we’ll also experience:  "and persecutions".  Jesus is honest in saying his way is not easy, that it's a costly and challenging way of life.  Jesus is calling us to be strong in the face of these challenges. 
  3. Jesus finishes with "the first shall be last, and the last first."  He was warning poor Peter not to let his sacrifice go to his head.  Maybe Peter was a bit proud and began estimating his own worth and reward! Peter would do well to have reflected on his call to holiness and how to practice being meek, like we’re challenged to do!

Today is Mardi Gras, meaning Lent begins tomorrow.  It’s a good time to reflect on living out our ‘call to holiness’ through prayer, fasting and almsgiving  What does Jesus means by a total gift of self “for the sake of the gospel."

Live Lent with love…sacrificial love.