The gospel of today forms the third part on the teaching on riches (10:- 17-31). The first unit has the rich young man at the heart of the story, the second unit has the instruction to the disciples and finally his teaching about rewards for giving up riches.
At the heart of this teaching, are the obstacles that the love for wealth creates, for one who chooses to be a disciple. This section is prompted by Peter, who by now is well on his way to be winner in the category of ‘apostle of spontaneous prayer’ and mercifully he is neither in la la land nor is he moonlighting (with apologies to Warren Beatty and the Oscar fiasco). Recall how he is always the one to speak first! ” Should we build three tents here? Who do men say I am? How often should I forgive my brother? He is always the one to speak first, speak spontaneously and speak impetuously.
So speaking for the disciples, he weighs in on the question; what’s in it for me (WIIFM)? He and the disciples had done what the Lord has asked the rich young man to do. Did they qualify for the kingdom? Was giving up their tiny boat comparable in value to what the rich young man was called to give up?
For Jesus, the rewards of the kingdom are similar to his understanding of the kingdom. It is already but not yet. The reward is not only in the eschaton or in heaven but it begins here in so much when the disciple opens himself up to the joys of discipleship. The disciple feels the joy of serving the Master even in the face of persecution or the tempest. So those that seem to have everything last in this world will find that that the doors of heaven will be opened first to them. Paupers will sit in the place of Princes, for God’s truth often contradicts human expectations.
Today is also Shrove Tuesday or pancake Tuesday as some would call it. Pancakes became popular on this day as housewives would use up all the fat, butter and eggs before lent got underway. On a personal note, I urge you to find a priest and open your heart to the Lord in the sacrament of reconciliation. On the eve of this holy season it would do well if we sat in a silent place and spent some time with the Lord. Ask him, “Lord, how am I doing? Am I living up to what you expect of me? Am I becoming the person you created me to be?
Fr Warner D’Souza
With some help from the JBC and reflections from ‘the little black book’. ( I found this exercise truly beautify in prayer today)