In today’s Gospel Our Lord assures us that when we give up the things that are dear to us–family, home, wealth–we’ll be blessed a hundred fold. In the First Reading we’re reminded that God rewards those who do what is pleasing to him. In the Gospel today it goes one step further. When we put Our Lord and his Gospel first, even in the sad cases where our loved ones don’t understand, we become part of a much larger family, and family that is all heading, one day, to our true home. We called priests “Father,” religious, “Brother, Sister, or Mother,” and we experience that wherever we go, there are believers, our brothers and sisters in the faith, who welcome us into their homes and share the blessings they have received from God. If we are separated briefly from our biological family and the place where we were born, we know that through serving the Gospel we are honoring God, our family, and our nation.
It’s not easy: Jesus warns us today that the persecutions will not go away. Even those we love don’t understand sometimes, much less the world that often transmits a message of looking our for number one and nobody else. That message fills the world with strangers, foreigners, and wildernesses, urban or otherwise. Neighborhoods become more of a place where isolated people or families reside rather than a community that looks out for each other. The Gospel keeps us open to everyone, keeps extending the invitation to become part of the family one smile at a time, one kind gesture at a time. And the people who have persevered on that path have not regretted it.
Let’s thank Our Lord today for all the sacrifices we have made putting his Gospel first, for all the blessings that have come of it, and pray that more people may come to be part of our family.
Readings: Sirach 35:1–12; Psalm 50:5–8, 14, 23; Mark 10:28–31.