The Joy and the Agony…… which to choose ?

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,

The Gospel from this mornings readings is from St Mark, 10:28-31 .  It reads as follows :


“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.”

There are a few portions of this that are particularly interesting to note. 

First, is the giving up part.  This does not mean you throw up your hands and walk away.. rather, it means offering up your day, your life, your joys, sorrows, pains , failings, and triumphs of each day to God. 

Each day I try to offer a quick prayer that goes like this ”  Today Lord, I offer up my joys, my sorrows, my work, and all the trials and victories in reparation for my own sin, and for the sins of my fellow man, Amen”.     On the good days that prayer is easy.. on the harder days maybe not so easy.    Or maybe after a hard day, maybe the next day it might be more difficult to offer the same prayer,   Indeed, this is the spiritual warfare that we are about each and every day of our lives.

For Parents who’s children are considering religious vocations, this is a great piece of scripture.  You are not giving up a child, or the possibility of grandchildren.  You are gaining the fruits of your childs labors of love.   The love that you shared with this child, and the lessons learned through you will go with that child and be transmitted throughout all the places where that child would go to serve God.

This leads us to the second point.  The Gospel says.. you will recieve a hundred times more ” WITH PERSECUTIONS”.

Each day, and each advancement for the kingdom of God comes with a cross to carry in THIS day and age.  There are challenges, tests, pain and sorrows to go through along with the joys !     To the human mind we are possibly not able to see this well.  Looking back through the history of the saints we can see a litany of people who carried crosses and were persecuted by their own peers, by friends and family, even by people within the human persons of the church.

St Francis, St Clare, St Teresa, St John of the Cross, Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, and the list goes on.  Each of these people, carried crosses and at the same time experienced unspeakable joy.    They each gave up everything for the Kingdom of God, and were given a hundred times as much, but also with crosses to bare.. I would dare say that they did not always understand it, or possibly did not understand until time had passed living with their crosses.  

Then there is the last part, ”  But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first”    The Gospels are repleat with examples of the Lord showing us how to be humble.    The human condition in the modern world, tries to teach our children to forge ahead, to get ahead, to be the best, to be competitive and overcome others, literally to be first, and of course to “get ahead” and live comfortably.      Our society wants us to get “stuff”.  Poseessions are the cornerstone of status and social standing.    Its important to have the right car, the right clothes, the right job.   To have influence and power is the name of the game.     We teach our kids to be “first”.    But then once a week for those who do attend some worship community, they listen to another message.   very confusing.   

I once had a Psychology professor who advised us that ” the degree and number of keys you have on your keychain, is the degree and level of stress you have in your life”.    

Consider this, If you have “stuff” then you had to spend money to get the stuff.  That money came from your work, or labors ( hopefully).  How many hours of your life did it take for you to get that thing ?  Now that you have that thing, you have to secure that thing so someone else wont take it.. maybe in a house, a case, a building, a lock.    How much do we have to spend to keep it maintained ?  How much do we have to spend to get all the “goodies” that come with the stuff ?      How many hours do we spend worrying about the stuff we have, or the stuff we need to keep up with the stuff that other people have.    What is all that “stuff “costing us really ?   

Here is the final thought …..  With finite resources is it right that my brothers and sisters live in poverty so that I can have all my stuff   ?


One Response to “The Joy and the Agony…… which to choose ?”

  1. Carroll Bryant Says:

    If only I had a quarter for every time I came to… Superb read!

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