Sirach 35: 1-12
Mark 10: 28-31
When I was studying ‘The Mystery of Christ’ with Greg Manly CP back in 1968, one of my classmates, Mark, responded to a provocative statement of Greg’s by asking (or pleading), “But Father, what about the hundredfold?.
I have never forgotten Greg’s stunning reply. “You’ve already had it”.
When Peter asked what he and the followers of Jesus were going to get as a result of leaving all to follow him, Jesus spoke a lavish return for what they had given up. This is the nature of self-giving love. He spoke of a hundred times the gain. Then, as we heard in today’s short gospel account, he promised that they would face persecutions as well! That detail has often been overlooked and you can be sure it was not long before Greg pointed this out to Mark!
The context for Peter’s question was that a wealthy young man had walked away from Jesus’ offer to ‘Give away your possessions and follow me”. Jesus then commented on how difficult it was for those attached to possessions to ‘enter the kingdom’. This was because the kingdom was here and now, and it called for the sharing of possessions, not the accumulation for one’s personal wealth.
Peter wondered who could ‘be saved’. Who could enter this kingdom? Only a few verses further on in today’s gospel, Jesus began to talk of himself being handed over in Jerusalem. The hundredfold and the persecution are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other. That is the nature of self-giving love!
What my classmate Mark had to learn, like Peter, is that you can’t stick the hundredfold in your back pocket (like completing the nine first-Fridays) and sit back waiting to enjoy the benefits. The persecution and the hundredfold are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other! That is the nature of self-giving love!
Brian Traynor CP has been involved in faith formation for many years especially in the form of parish missions and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. Brian is a member of the Passionist community at Holy Cross, Templestowe.