Peter began to say to Jesus,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mk 10:28-31)
Peter exemplifies something in today’s Gospel that is a very real part of all of our human nature: the “what’s-in-it-for-me” syndrome. “We have given up everything and followed you,” Peter told the Lord after one of Jesus’ instructions. He was saying, in effect, “Hey, throw us a bone. We’ve done what you said. When and what are we going to see in return?”
Jesus gives it back to him, however, in a way that Peter, I am sure, does not expect nor is ready to hear. Jesus assures Peter that he — and the others — will receive over and above what they have put into the journey. However, they will receive it with persecution as well.
There’s that darn word again. Persecution. “Why does the Lord have to keep saying that?” I am sure that was the question Peter asked himself. That is the question that we often ask as well: “Hey, Lord, I’m trying my best to follow you. Why is it so hard? Why am I beset upon? Isn’t there anything in this for me?!”
It is clear that we do not have the first clue as to what the Lord is doing in our lives nor do we understand where He is leading us. However, we do know that if we remain faithful, all will one day be made clear and we shall enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven.
We just might have to go through a fair share of grief in order to get there.
FAITH ACTION: Is there someone you know who is having problems following the Lord because he or she has gotten too much grief for doing so? Instead of looking for personal reward, take some time to encourage that other person. After all, we are not in this alone. We are in it together.