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I Peter 1:10-16
Psalm 98:1-4
Mark 10:28-31
Peter enjoins us to 'gird up our loins of your mind, live soberly, and set our hopes
completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ'. On
the other hand, the psalmist counsels us to remember that the Lord has already
made known his salvation. And in Mark, Jesus recounts what it is we will be giv-
ing up and receiving for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus adds that one thing we
will receive is persecution, and even so many "who are first will be last, and the
last will be first".
These three readings describe our life's journey. We're called to prepare and to
anticipate. Then, to remember. And finally, essentially to lose our "selves" in
service to the Good News. It's this last 'command' that has my attention today.
If I consent to give up all that I am attached to, then I will be given so much more
as gift. I can only grasp this because it is part of my experience of being a dis-
ciple, not because I'm told it's so. Giving up an old identity, and receiving as gift
a new one. Then, Jesus adds in seeming casualness, persecutions will be part
of this new identity as well. This, too, I know from experience.
To make sure that we truly understand the meaning of "gift", Jesus makes sure
we understand that whatever it means to be "first" (and I don't understand this
except in terms the 'world' defines) is a gift as well.
Monsignor briefly reflected the other day on the 'circle of life', the Mandala. In
the center of that circle is Christ. On it's periphery are the symbols of our lives'
major experiences: exaltation, loss of that state, the posture of the supplicant,
and then the rising towards exaltation again. In other words: it shows the state
of victory and possession; then defeat and loss; total dependency, abasement,