Mk 10:28-31 What Must I Do? Part II
Peter replied, “We have given up everything and followed you.”
The above verse is generally known on earth as the “Scandal of the Cross”. The Lord has asked us to follow him in whatever he wants and wherever he goes. It is a scandal, especially since our ancient forefathers’ declaration to God of theirs and our independence! We value our independence. We hold it up high! We worked darn hard for it and we treasure it, even at the expense of lives. We all have this inclination, this predisposition - this original sin - to cut off all strings that may attach us to others, especially from the One from above, and it is very apparent for all to feel. Conformity of my will to His Will requires obedience and sacrifice. So when things don’t go my way or when I get frustrated with others and with God, it can most definitely be that my will does not conform to His Will. This is the likely cause of my frustration, resentment, and even anger.
In the heated dialogue between the Lord and Peter, it would appear as though Peter is fed up, ready to get up and to turn back. He is about to explode and in a fit of anger he shouts out, “We have given up everything and followed you.” What will we get in return?
Of course we know the history of the Church; we have the lives of the Saints. We have those who suffered tremendous persecution, hatred and war for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Are we not impressed with their lives? How a tree once crooked grew straight and tall? How the meek and humble of heart conquered the foreign lands and people they were sent to serve and save? As for me, I am impressed beyond reason how a rag tag group of fishermen and lowlifes could turn the world right side up and change the course of history!
“Lord, guide the course of world events and give your Church the joy and peace of serving you in true freedom.” (Opening Prayer, 8th Wk Ordinary time)
This should be our prayer. This should be meditated upon. The world has changed forever and is now marked by the sign of the Lord’s Cross. We must continue to carry His Cross. It is remarkable how my destiny ties in directly with the Lord’s work. His work will never fail and we have been called to participate in the history of salvation. Is it clear what I am saying? We have been called by Christ to join him in his plan of salvation. And here is his invitation, the Lord’s motivational speech: The greater the role, the greater the honor; the greater the honor the greater the joy. (cf. Mk 10:30-31)
“To refrain from evil pleases the Lord, and to avoid injustice is an atonement. Appear not before the Lord empty-handed.” (Sir 35:1-12)
This is no longer good enough. It is only part of the formula for success. The book of Sirach is in the Old Testament. The Lord fulfills that Law but He lives beyond the letter of this Law! It is no longer good enough to just refrain from evil and avoid injustice. My hands must appear full before the Lord. But there is much more. They must be marked by the sign of the Cross. A nail must pierce them.
Not too long ago someone told me of the shame they felt for having had sex before marriage. When this person told her family, they shamed here by calling her every name in the book. This young person asked me if what they had said was right. I asked her if that would have been the Lord’s response. We all know the answer to that question. And now it all makes sense. The Lord speaks, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” In other words, the one who tells the truth and seeks forgiveness will be forgiven, but the one who does not forgive shall be shamed. That is why tax collectors and other sinners were entering the Kingdom of God first.
The Lord calls us to true freedom through true conversion. “Sin no more” is good, just and necessary. This is true freedom. This is true service. This is what I must do for this is what brings joy and peace: Serving the Lord.