5 March 2019 - Tuesday of the 8th even week

1 Peter 1:10-16; Mark 10:28-31

Abbey of O.L. of the Mississippi, Iowa, USA

 

Homily

 

This Gospel is the continuation of the one we had last night which was the account of Jesus' encounter with the rich young man who wanted to know what to do to have eternal life as his inheritance, and to whom Jesus had said: "Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor; then you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come on, follow me.

 

To understand the full meaning of this "come, follow me", we must remember that at this very moment, in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus encounters more and more disbelief and opposition from the Jews and that he is on his way to Jerusalem where he will be put to death, as he has already announced on more than one occasion. So, when Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, said to his aspirant disciple: "Come and follow me", he invited him to share this paschal mystery. However, this presupposes the renunciation of all ties and desires.

 

After the departure of the young man, who is leaving, all sad, Jesus explains to his disciples how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God, for those who possess wealth. And it was then that Peter, always sure of himself, remarked to Jesus: "Behold, we have left everything to follow you". We can notice that in that narrative, Marc, as in Luke, Peter does not ask any questions. He does not ask "what will be our share?", as in Matthew. He simply reminds Jesus that they have left everything to follow him.

 

Let us remember that the rich young man was concerned about what to do to have eternal life. In his answer to Peter, Jesus distinguishes the time of this world from eternal life. First, he affirms that those who have left everything because of him and the Gospel would receive two things from this world: first, a hundredfold of what they have left, but, in another way, also persecutions, since they are no greater than their master, who will soon be a victim of those who want him dead. Then he adds, that after all this, they will have eternal life, that is, the fullness of life that never ends. For those who live according to the Rule of St. Benedict, it may be useful to recall that in his Prologue, Benedict says that he writes this Rule for those who "desire life and see happy days" -- it contains the two dimensions of this world and the next.

 

One may wonder why the little sentence "many of the first will be last and the last will be first" was placed here by the Evangelist Mark. Probably to remind us that we should not be under any illusions about the importance of what we have left, or think we have left. Finally, nothing is rewarded in proportion to our actions. Everything is grace.

 

Armand Veilleux