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spiralstationsIn Mark’s gospel this morning (ch 10:28-31) Peter has the first line which sounds a bit startling. Things must’ve been a little disappointing for him to exclaim to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Admittedly we have the window of history through which to view this declaration so that it’s normal to think it astonishingly selfish in light of what Jesus eventually “gives up” for Peter and all of us. But to be fair, we need to remember that the disciples had no notion of what was to come. Their experience was only a growing sense that Jesus was the one they had been waiting for who was to restore the kingdom of Israel – and so their expectation was of something very different than what eventually took place. Jesus intimates in his response to Peter’s statement that everyone who gives up possessions or relationships for the sake of the gospel will receive a hundredfold. In his list of what the hundredfold will consist, however, he slips in the word persecutions between lands and eternal life. Whether or not Peter caught the inference, it took the experience of the persecution of Jesus and the entire paschal mystery to truly grasp the purpose for which Jesus had come.

Even with the weight of history on our side, we sometimes fall into expectation of reward for our good deeds. As we approach the season of Lent we might do well to take the advice of Peter’s letter – written much later than the moment captured in today’s gospel – where he advises us to “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.” (1 Pt 1:10-16)