Editor’s note: The following reflection is from Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne’s March 5 post on his Truth in Love blog.
In Today’s Gospel (Mark 10: 28-31), Peter begins a conversation with Jesus, saying: “We have given up everything to follow you.”
If Jesus had not interrupted Peter, one wonders where this thought was leading … Perhaps once again, Jesus saves Peter from putting his foot in his mouth.
Regardless, as we are on the eve of another Lenten journey, we have a great focus. First from Peter: Have we given up everything to follow Jesus?
Second and more importantly, we do well to ponder the promise of Jesus. We cannot possibly give up more than he can offer in return. We deal only in worldly, human possibilities, while Jesus deals in a currency of far greater riches; that which is immortal, incorruptible, eternal.
In Alaska, the annual, great, 1,000 mile trek known as the Iditarod is underway. A journey through the Alaskan winter wilderness by dogsled, billed as the last great adventure. My admiration to all those mushers and dog teams!
However, the real, great adventure is that of discipleship — of giving up everything to follow Christ.
My friends, may each of us, and many more this Lent, discover the grace to surrender all for Jesus Christ. In this year where the church has been marred and disgraced with renewed focus on the sinful and criminal behavior of our shepherds, of scandalous failures in leadership, may we hear afresh and anew the words of Jesus about genuine discipleship, take them to heart, and keep them with renewed vigor and hope:
“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.”
Dear friends, this Lent, let us give the primacy to Jesus Christ. May Jesus be the center of our life, at all times, in every relationship, every decision, every action, every word, each longing of the heart.
As we prayerfully develop our Lenten practices, ready for action, may our fasts and resolutions lead us closer to Christ, closer to one another, and please God, closer to the Kingdom of Heaven.
What are you going to ‘give up’ for Jesus this Lent?