Tuesday, May 25, 2010
1) Opening prayer
guide the course of world events
and give your Church the joy and peace
of serving you in freedom.
You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Mark 10,28-31
Peter took this up. 'Look,' he said to Jesus, 'we have left everything and followed you.' Jesus said, 'In truth I tell you, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times as much, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land -- and persecutions too -- now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life. Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.'
• In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus spoke about the conversation among the disciples about material goods: to get away from things, to sell everything, to give it to the poor and to follow Jesus. Or rather, like Jesus, they should live in total gratuity, placing their own life in the hands of God, serving the brothers and sisters (Mk 10, 17-27). In today’s Gospel Jesus explains better how this life of gratuity and service of those who abandon everything for him, for Jesus and for the Gospel, should be (Mk 10, 28-31).
• Mark 10, 28-31: A hundred times as much, and persecutions too, now. Peter observes: “We have left everything and followed you”. It is like saying: “We have done what the Lord asked of the young rich man. We have abandoned everything and we have followed you. Explain to us how should our life be?” Peter wants Jesus to explain more the new way of living in the service and in gratuity. The response of Jesus is beautiful, profound and symbolical: “In truth there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times as much, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land and, persecutions too, now in the present time and in the world to come, eternal life. Many who are first will be last and the last first”. The type of life which springs from the gift of everything is the example of the Kingdom which Jesus wants to establish (a) to extend the family and to create community; it increases a hundred times the number of brothers and sisters. (b) It produces the sharing of goods, because all will have a hundred times more houses and land. Divine Providence incarnates itself and passes through the fraternal organization, where everything belongs to everyone and there are no longer persons who are in need. They put into practice the Law of God which asks “that there be no poor among you” (Dt 15, 4-11). This was what the first Christians did (Ac 2, 42-45). It is the perfect living out of service and gratuity. (c) They should not expect any privilege in return, no security, no type of promotion. Rather, in this life they will have all this, but with persecutions. Because, in this world, organized on egoism and the interests of groups and persons, those who want to live a gratuitous love and the gift of self, they will be crucified as Jesus was. (d) They will be persecuted in this world, but in the future world they will have eternal life of which the rich young man spoke about.
• Jesus is the choice of the poor. A two-fold slavery characterized the situation of the people of the time of Jesus: the slavery of the politics of Herod supported by the Roman Empire and maintained by a whole well organized system of exploitation and repression, and the slavery of the official religion, maintained by the religious authority of the time. This is why the clan, the family, the community, were being disintegrated and a great number of the people were excluded, marginalized, homeless, having no place neither in religion nor in society. This is why several movements arose which were seeking for a new way of living in community: the Esenes, the Pharisees and, later on, the Zelots. In the community of Jesus there was something new which made it different from other groups. It was the attitude toward the poor and the excluded. The communities of the Pharisees lived separated. The word “Pharisee” means “separated”. They lived separated from impure people. Many Pharisees considered people ignorant and cursed (Jn 7, 49), in sin (Jo 9, 34). Jesus and his community, on the contrary, lived together with excluded persons, considered impure: publicans, sinners, prostitutes, lepers (Mk 2, 16; 1, 41; Lk 7, 37). Jesus recognizes the richness and the values which the poor possess (Mt 11, 25-26; Lk 21, 1-4). He proclaims them blessed, because the Kingdom is theirs, it belongs to the poor (Lk 6, 20; Mt 5, 3). He defines his mission: “to proclaim the Good News to the poor” (Lk 4, 18). He himself lives as a poor person. He possesses nothing for himself, not even a rock where to lay his head (Lk 9, 58). And to those who want to follow him to share his life, he tells them to choose: God or money! (Mt 6, 24). He orders that they choose in favour of the poor! (Mk 10, 21). The poverty which characterized the life of Jesus and of the disciples, also characterized the mission. On the contrary of other missionaries (Mt 23,15), the disciples of Jesus could take nothing with them, neither gold, nor money, nor two tunics, nor purse, nor sandals (Mt 10, 9-10). They had to trust in the hospitality offered to them (Lk 9, 4; 10, 5-6). And if they would be accepted by the people, they should work like everybody else and live from what they would receive as wages for their work (Lk 10, 7-8). Besides they should take care of the sick and of those in need (Lk 10, 9; Mt 10, 8). Now they could tell the people: “The Kingdom of God is very near to you!” (Lk 10, 9).
4) Personal questions
• In your life, how do you practice Peter’s proposal: “We have left everything and have followed you”?
• Gratuitous sharing, service, acceptance to the excluded are signs of the Kingdom. How do I live this today?
5) Concluding Prayer
The whole wide world has seen
the saving power of our God.
Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,
burst into shouts of joy! (Ps 98,3-4)