Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: May 25. Lectionary # 347. I Peter 1:10-16. Psalm 98: 1.2-3.3-4.
Our baptismal epistle continues giving us more of God’s living revelation
about our salvation. The sacrament of Baptism and the preaching of the
Gospel are the graces we receive through our belief; these lead us through
life towards its ultimate goal which is our union with God and with one
another. The writer of the epistle goes under the name of Peter, the
foundation apostle for the Church. It is a clear revelatory essay that
refers to the prophetic announcement of salvation through the guidance of
the Spirit. We are reminded again of our salvation through the life,
death, and resurrection of Jesus signified and realized through our Baptism
in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit.
Peter is also the person who is asking a burning question of Jesus in
today’s Markan narrative. It deals with the cost of discipleship which
makes such demands as total detachment from family, brothers and sisters,
mother and father, and children–which also means, as in the case of Peter,
detachment from his spouse! These are hard demands and sayings of Jesus
for becoming a follower of the Lord. Peter wants to know what is the real
meaning of this demand and whether it is worth following. Paradoxically,
Jesus answers by saying all of the above will come back a hundredfold to
the one who truly understands and commits self to following the Lord.
We see how demanding that call is not only for Peter and the other
disciples of Jesus but for ourselves. Can we really make such a commitment?
How are we to understand these words of Jesus which cut through our very
being as humans? We are told that God is not outdone in generosity and
that the burden of following the Lord is not heavy. We are confused by the
differences we hear and then the reply of Jesus that all will come back to
us in a hundredfold. Is this call to be taken literally as this text seems
to say? Or have we a spiritual message here that is emphatic, prophetic,
and transforming? Am I willing to accept such a call to discipleship? Do
I see this in Mark’s Gospel as the call to follow Jesus to the Cross? It
is named by spiritual writers as the Gospel of the Cross. And am I willing
to make such a leap of faith in following the Lord Jesus?
The passage is seen within the context of the man who could not follow
Jesus because of his possessions and is followed immediately by the third
prediction of the death of Jesus. This helps us to pray and meditate on
the deepest meaning of the text. Here is what the commentator in the New
Jerome Biblical Commentary says about the verses: “Peter as spokesman for
the disciples juxtaposes their actions to the missed opportunity of the
rich man (Mark 10:17-22). Jesus promises rewards not only in the eschaton
(the endtime)but also in the present, when a disciple can enjoy a rich
social and religious fellowship. …the saying is encouragement to
disciples about the reality of the “great reversal.” The rewards of
discipleship surpass the sacrifices now and in the future.” The fact that
there was no monasticism nor religious vowed commitment to Jesus makes the
statement even more perplexing. Amen.