Tuesday – Eighth Week – OT2
Readings: 1 Pet 1:10-16; Mk 10:28-31.
1/ First Reading: NAB 1 Peter 1:10 Concerning this salvation, prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and investigated it, 11 investigating the time and circumstances that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories to follow them. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you with regard to the things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels longed to look. 13 Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance 15 but, as He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, 16 for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy.”
2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 10:28 Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” 29 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 30 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. 31 But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
I. THEME: Learn to appreciate the value of salvation.
To appreciate something, people need to know their values. If people don’t know their values, they shall easily ignore or despise it. In the Gospel of Matthews, Jesus advised his disciples, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Mt 7:6). To the swine, bran-mash is their favotite, not pearls. Similarly, worldly people are afraid of sufferings and find any possible ways to avoid them; but to Christ’s followers, sufferings help them to be conformed with Jesus.
Today readings emphasize on the necessary of the study to appreciate the Gospel of salvation. In the first reading, the author confirmed that the Gospel of salvation was announced to people of former generations through the prophets of the Old Testament and today people through preachers of the Good News; both are under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. People must be prepared to inherit the salvation which is brought by Jesus Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus promised his disciples that they shall have all necessary things in this world and the salvation in the next life if they are faithful to follow him.
1/ Reading I: The angels also longed to look for the Gospel of salvation.
1.1/ The Holy Spirit has foretold that the Gospel of salvation is achieved by Christ: The author abbreviated this Gospel as follows:
+ The prophets of old foretold that Christ, the Messiah, shall bring salvation to all people. The points which the author wanted to stress are: “the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and investigated it, investigating the time and circumstances that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories to follow them.” In other words, what the prophets prophesized are from both their study and the inspiration of Christ’s Spirit.
+ They foretold that the Messiah shall suffer, not because of his sins, but to redeem people’s sins (cf. Isa 22 and Isaiah’s four songs of God’s Suffering Servant)
+ His suffering and death brings out not only his magnificent glory but also salvation to all human beings (Phi 2:6-11).
+ The Gospel of salvation is preached to people by preachers at outside and the Holy Spirit’s inside guidance whom God sent both of them to people.
+ The Gospel of salvation is so important that the angels also desire to study it in details.
1.2/ People must be well prepared to receive God’s salvation: The author advised his faithful to do the followings to inherit salvation:
+ Be prepared: Like prophets, the believers must prepare their mind to receive the Gospel and to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
+ Be alert: Christ warned his disciples, “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:36).
+ Be hopeful and faithful: “Gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
+ Be obedient: The believers profess their faith not only by their mouth, but also by their deeds; they must reform their life, they can’t act in compliance with the desires of their former ignorance.
+ Be holy in talking and living: The faithful must be holy themselves in every aspect of their conduct because He who called them is holy, for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy.”
2/ Gospel: The reward for those who left everything to follow Christ.
Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” When Peter said this, he wanted to know that what shall he get by giving up everything to follow Christ. Jesus’ answer has two parts:
2.1/ The disciples’ rewards both in this life and the next life: First, Jesus promised that those who faithful followed him shall be rewarded for both lives.
(1) Rewards in the present life: 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.” Those who faithfully followed Christ, clearly experienced this promise. For example, in St. Paul’s case, when he was converted to be Christ’s disciple, he is considered as one of Jesus’ apostles and given the special mission to preach for the Gentiles. Whenever he went, he established local churches there; they treated him as their father and he considered them as his children whom he conceived in Christ.
(2) Rewards in the next life: The eternal life is the ultimate reward which Jesus shall give to those who faithfully followed him. When one possesses this reward, he shall lack of nothing.
2.2/ The disciples’ obligation: Naturally, if there is a reward, there must also be duties. Jesus wanted his disciples to do two things:
(1) To accept maltreatment: Jesus didn’t hide anything from his disciples, he clearly told them that if they were his disciples, they shall be maltreated by the world. He explained this in John’s Gospel: This is obvious because the disciples’ values and standards are completely different with the world’s values and standards; and the world hates those who aren’t like them (cf. Jn 17:14). The maltreatment is a sure sign of a true disciple. St. Paul also challenged the Corinthians, “Is there any prophet sent by God and the world didn’t persecute?” The disciples should be joyful when they are maltreated because they were shared their master’s suffering.
(2) To humbly serve: “But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” This is an adage which was often repeated in the Gospels. The disciples are called to serve all people and this is the manner which they practive their given mission.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must spend time to study Scripture to know the importance of the Gospel of salvation. If not, we shall be easily attracted by worldly and devil’s temptations.
– In order to be successful in anything, we must sacrifice and suffer. If we share Christ’s suffering, we shall also share his glory.
– The more magnificent of the reward, the more challenging we must face. Christ doesn’t promise us an easy way to enter heaven, he warned that we shall go through many sufferings.