Blessings and Persecutions

Mark 10: 28-31
Sir 35: 1-12 / Psa 50

… no one who has left … (everything) for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time (everything) with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
(Mark 10:29-30)

Lord, help us give to You our best
In this mission where we are called;
With persecutions as our test,
For us to gain a hundredfold.

Peter began to say to Jesus, “Lord, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time [i.e., on earth], houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:28-31)

Reflection

The rich young man whom Jesus invited to “come, follow me” (Mk.10:21) had just walked away because he could not detach himself from his wealth, when Peter spoke up in behalf of the apostles. “We have left everything and followed you.” Perhaps he and his companions wanted to hear Jesus’ assurance that their decision to follow the Lord was not foolhardy, as they wanted to believe that He was their ticket to heaven.

It may seem difficult at first to understand what our Lord Jesus meant when He said those who have left everything for His sake and the Gospel would receive a hundred times more than what he has given up in this life as well as in the next. Jesus was not referring to material things, which are in fact of little worth compared to values that are everlasting. When His followers in the early Church received the power of the Spirit and experienced the vision of His glory, as St. Peter and the apostles did on Pentecost, or St. Stephen before his martyrdom, or St. Paul on his way to Damascus, they were willing to give up everything, including their lives in exchange for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which included wisdom, joy and peace. They left their comfort zones (“house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, lands”), for Christ’s sake and for the gospel, but they received more than a hundredfold of their equivalent in the conversion of souls for God’s kingdom during their lifetimes. They all left a priceless legacy, and their lives will forever be remembered in feast days that our Church commemorates every day.

So it is in our own renewal communities today. When we decided to sign our pledge cards and made the commitment to follow Jesus and bring His values and ideals to our neighbors and/or marketplaces, it was because we felt the powerful spiritual magnet drawing us to Jesus, and as our Lord promised, we have indeed gained a hundredfold of brothers and sisters in our community, sharing the same ideals and vision of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we go on mission anywhere in the country, we have a hundred houses that welcome us in genuine love and hospitality as we do for brothers and sisters from other chapters and outreaches who come into our homes.

Then our Lord mentioned “persecutions”. This is to remind us that those who are willing to make sacrifices for the Gospel and His kingdom will certainly reap greater rewards in this life and in the eternal life to come. The persecutions that come with one’s giving will bring forth a miracle of God’s goodness in our life.

We thank you, Father for the little miracles that You manifest in our lives, as well as the persecutions that develop our character in the pattern of our Lord Jesus. They increase our faith in Your Providence, and draw us closer to You and Your Son. Amen.

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