When facing a big decision, we often ask questions like, “What would be the return on my investment? What’s the value added?” Such questions are fine when considering going back to school or making improvements to our home. We don’t, however, want to take this approach to our faith.
Yet that’s exactly what Peter did in today’s gospel. When he told Jesus, “Lord, we have given up everything and followed you!” he wasn’t complaining, he was boasting. He was expecting –even demanding- something from Jesus in return for the sacrifices he’d made.
Jesus acknowledged that Christian discipleship does reap great rewards- rich blessings in the present age, and eternal life in the next. But Jesus also offered a caution: “The first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Jesus’ point is that we shouldn’t approach discipleship as an effort to get something in return. Our motivation shouldn’t be about earning rewards or gaining entitlements. Instead, authentic discipleship is a faithful and loving response to all the graces and love we’ve been given. In short: Jesus invites us to seek him, not for personal gain, but out of humble gratitude.
A sneering passerby said to a Catholic caring for a dying AIDS patient, “I wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world!” The reply? “Neither would I.”
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/030111.shtml