View all Gospel Reflections |
Cost and Benefit
Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, though I am not deserving, I am grateful for your love. Sometimes following you is not easy. I lose my way and fall into sin, but you always find me. You gently lead me to the road back to your heart. Help me to persevere in following you.
- What about Us?: Peter had just heard Jesus tell everyone how hard it can be to enter the kingdom of heaven. “It is easier for a camel to pass through [the] eye of [a] needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:25). They were all amazed. In this context Peter voiced the thought that was probably on everyone’s mind: “We have given up everything and followed you.” In other words, “What about us?” God bless Peter for his frankness. Without his outburst, we would have missed the consolation Jesus offered next. We should never hesitate to tell the Lord what’s really on our minds. He knows already, and loves us anyway. The very act of praying from our heart unleashes graces from Jesus’s Sacred Heart.
- The First Will Be Last: The “firsts” in this world believe in themselves. They believe they are deserving of their elevated status. They believe they are stronger, smarter, more beautiful, etc., than others. They can be demanding, ungrateful, self-important, and sometimes downright angry. These are not the qualities of the “firsts” who belong to Our Lord’s kingdom. These “firsts” believe not in themselves but in God who sustains them. They believe that if they are stronger, smarter, or more beautiful than others, the attribute is to be used to glorify God and to be of service to others. They are grateful, peaceful, joy-filled, and authentic. They may or may not be the “last” in a worldly sense, but, by their faith, they have secured a prime place with God for all eternity.
- The Reward: The cost-benefit analysis is a method used to analyze business decisions before actually committing to one, but let’s relate this concept to the decision of following Jesus. “Take up your cross and follow me,” Jesus said. Walking with Jesus can mean we suffer hardships, but the benefits outweigh the burden of carrying our crosses, because we don’t carry them alone. Jesus accompanies us through our pains and gives meaning to our sorrows. And there is also a promise, a reward: When we offer our lives to Jesus, we gain the joy of his friendship, which is a priceless treasure, and we receive an inheritance in heaven which lasts forever.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, thank you for calling me to the Catholic faith. I am reminded that no worldly good can truly fill my heart. The joy of knowing you is the greatest treasure of all. Fill my heart with faith and hope, and with the vision of heaven especially when circumstances around me get tough. May I always find peace and joy in your presence.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make a plan to go to confession.
For Further Reflection: Take your time in doing your examination of conscience tonight through Reimagining the Examen. Look back and see how Jesus gave you joy today.
Beverly Dalton is a writer and lives in the city of Manila. She also works for a Catholic psychology center, helping out with research studies and programs for the poor. When she is not busy, she spends time with her mom and sister, and occasionally finds leisure and relaxation in soapmaking as seen in @twosistershome.ph.