30 March 2009

Forsake and Follow

"Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for My sake and the gospel's (for the kingdom of God)," Jesus said, "shall receive a hundredfold in this present time, and in the age to come inherit eternal life." (Matt 19:29, Mark 10:29-30, Luke 18:30 paraphrase)

Last week ended with lamenting for all the loss I went through in the past year. Like Job, everything I had was taken away. Yet, I recognized that having nothing made it easier to follow Christ. Rather than a curse I saw it as liberation.

"The forsaking was done for the purpose of following," writes St. John Chrysostom, "and the following was rendered easier by the forsaking." (Homily LXIV)

I wonder if St. Peter was remembering the words of Jesus about forsaking and following when he wrote: "Therefore, let those who suffer according to God's will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you." (1 Peter 4:19 & 5:10)

Those who suffer for a while will be restored, established, and strengthened. Those who forsake all to follow Christ will benefit both in this life and gain eternal life.

No comments: