A Hundredfold’s Reward

Mark 10: 28-31
1 Pt 1: 10-16 / Ps 98: 1-4

‘Be holy because I am holy’.
(1 Peter 1:16)

Lord, help us give to You our best
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

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.

First, we must realize that Jesus was being more figurative than hyperbolic. He was not referring to material things, which are in fact of little worth vis-a-vis spiritual values which 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 (Acts 7:55-56) or St. Paul on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-20), they were all willing to give up everything, including their lives in exchange for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which included sheer joy and peace, and the privilege of spreading the Good News of salvation that their Savior first proclaimed.

Throughout the centuries of Christian history, this fervor of evangelization, borne of Christ’s love and His Father’s grace, never waned, as we see for instance in the life of St. Augustine of Canterbury a Benedictine monk in the 7th century. St. Augustine is known as the “Apostle of the English” and the patron saint of England. He was largely responsible for the founding of the English Catholic church and the conversion of this country at the instigation of Pope Gregory the Great in the year 596 AD. The Kingdom of Kent was ruled by Æthelberht, a Saxon pagan who married a Christian princess. He was converted to the faith along with thousands of his subjects by Augustine and his team of monks. Eventually, the whole country of Great Britain came under the influence of the Holy See until it broke away in the sixteenth century.

St. Augustine of Canterbury left his comfort zone in Rome (“house, brothers, sisters, mother father, lands”), for Christ’s sake and for the gospel, but he received more than a hundredfold of their equivalent in the conversion of souls for God’s kingdom in his lifetime. He left a priceless legacy, and his life will forever be remembered, along with all the other great martyrs and saints that the Church commemorates every day.

Jesus calls each one of us to be “saints” like St. Augustine, although we do not have to leave everything like him and the apostles to follow our Lord. We can spread the Gospel of Jesus simply by living a life of holiness. As St. Peter wrote in the first reading: “Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, ‘Be holy because I am holy’.’’ (1 Peter 1:15-16)

Lord God, we thank You for the example of Your saints like St. Augustine of Canterbury, who fulfilled the words of Jesus that we will reap a hundredfold what we sow. We ask for Your grace to sanctify our lives in everything that we say and do in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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