March 5, 2019
by Mark Latta
Creighton University's School of Dentistry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 348

Sirach 35:1-12
Psalms 50:5-6, 7-8, 14 and 23
Mark 10:28-31

Praying Ordinary Time

A Mardi Gras Prayer...

What Is Fasting and Abstinence?

Cooking Lent
Recipes for Ash Wednesday,
all the Fridays of Lent and for Good Friday

Both the first reading today from the Book of Sirach and today’s Gospel from Mark carry very profound promises of God’s covenant with his people to “give back” in abundance. In Sirach we see the Lord giving back seven-fold for what we give in charity.  In Mark we see Jesus’s response to Peter is even larger noting that whatever his followers have sacrificed will receive a “hundred times more in this present age” and “eternal life in the age to come.”

My goodness! With such a promise why are we so reluctant to respond? What God offers to us, and what Jesus offers to his disciples, is a gift of God, not our right. Whatever place we think we have with God, is God’s to give. In other places he promises the sheer generous gift of his love to all. Perhaps our reluctance and anxiety is the same as Peter’s. While Peter was outspoken, enthusiastic and often spontaneous perhaps he, like us realized that he may be left with nothing as a result of supporting Jesus. Indeed it is likely our fear and specifically the fear of losing our attachments to the material things of the world that is our barrier to receiving God’s promise.

How do we overcome our fears to embrace God’s will for us? It might be as simple as Dorothy Bernard’s perspective that “courage is fear that has said its prayers”. The reward to those who are not enslaved to disordered attachments is to be content with their sense of self and their personal God-given dignity and to have inner peace. If we see wealth, honor and power for what they are and not how the world sees them not only do we enhance our own sense of dignity but we are more open to seeing the dignity of others and showing the respect and care for others that Jesus modeled for us. Whoever wants to be first must in fact be the last of all and in service to all.

As a final note, we cannot ignore Jesus reminding us that even in receiving a hundred times more that with that will inevitably come with being persecuted for His sake. Let us be comforted by this powerful prayer of St. Teresa Avila:

“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”


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