Today’s Gospel: Mark 10:28-31
Today is Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. In keeping with tradition, some of us will devour pancakes and syrup, a last splurge before Lent.
However, the Gospel reading leading up to Lent is much more sober. Peter reminds Jesus that the disciples have given up everything to follow Him. Seems like Peter is worried. He is really asking, “Have we given enough?”
Jesus encourages Peter and His disciples, promising them eternal life as a reward and then adds, “for the last will be first and the first will be last“.
Another divine paradox to rattle our brains. Nothing Jesus says really makes sense to our Western sensibilities. In fact, most of the sayings of Jesus did not make sense to a first century Eastern mind, either, and so the gospel of Mark repeats this phrase twice more, just so it sinks in.
Right after this passage, Jesus explains His statement by using a parable. The parable is about a farmer who hired different men throughout the day to work his field. Each man agreed to be paid a certain amount of money for his work but those who work barely an hour receive the same payment as those who labor all day. Seems unjust.
Yet in the context of the passage, the phrase “first will be last and the last will be first” does not mean one person gains more honor than another. It means there is no advantage, status, or honor in God’s kingdom.
God loves everyone with the same boundless love because it is not what we do that matters, it is who we are, children of God. A Western perspective looks at deeds, jobs, actions, and outer appearances. A heavenly perspective looks at the heart and soul of each person, irrespective of how they look from the outside. It is only through the eyes of the world that there is any one who is first or last because God does not judge us like that at all.
How does your Western training distort your view of those around you? Do you see with the eyes of heaven or the eyes of the world?
Lord change our eyes to look upon your children with your mercy, love, and forgiveness. Change our values to Gospel values.
Copyright 2014 Melanie Jean Juneau