Ps 85:9, 11-14
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Good News Reflection: Where’s the peace?
In our responsorial Psalm today, God is speaking his peace to you. And when God utters a word, it is so. Of course it is so! He is God! Well, do you see kindness and truth “meeting” in your life? Is justice and peace “kissing” you?
Yes! if your hope is in God, as the psalmist says of God’s faithful ones. Even while injustices are being committed against you, God’s justice is with you. The problem is that the Lord’s peace might be lost in the crowdedness of everything else that’s going on.
In our Gospel reading today, Jesus mentions two significant ways we lose this peace: by accumulating material goods only for our own sake and by depending upon family relationships (including friends who are like family) to get all that we need emotionally and spiritually. We can’t have peace when we expect money and possessions to satisfy us, because it’s never enough. We can’t have peace when we expect others to make us happy, because they repeatedly disappoint us.
The cure, Jesus says, is to keep our eyes on him. Giving up everything to follow Jesus does not mean kicking our possessions out the door. Rather, it means making them available to Jesus for him to do with as he wants, for his holy purposes. We share what we have because we care, recognizing that God has given us everything we own so that we can benefit from it and we can distribute it to others. Not only is there great peace in having the freedom to do this, but great satisfaction as well.
Giving up relationships to follow Jesus means depending on him, instead of family and friends, to satisfy all of our needs. Although these people are called to be good to us, their imperfect love creates holes in our lives, holes that hurt. God wants to live in these holes so that he can comfort us, but if we stuff the holes with anger or addictions, there’s no room for him. By depending on Jesus and recognizing that he suffered for our sake, we can endure the pain while he works on the hearts of the people who should be filling those holes. What if this takes the rest of their lives? Well, there will be an eternity for enjoying their love.
Sometimes God closes a hole so that it no longer exists, enabling us to give up a relationship entirely. Then, we feel no pain or sorrow. Maybe that’s how it happens when loved ones go to hell and we have to spend eternity without them. We feel sad for someone who dies rejecting Christ, but it’s not a painful kind of sorrow after God heals us.
When praying for an end to a problem, we have to wait, in full trust, for God’s often-unusual solutions. And while praying for a change in the hearts of the people who hurt us, we should ask Jesus to give us his patience and his supernatural love for them. True peace is found only when we lean on him and make him the most important person in our lives.
By depending on God and placing our hope in his love, hope becomes trust. And trust becomes peace.
If you need help finding this peace in the midst of painful relationships, download my e-book The Path to Healing in Difficult Relationships, published by Catholic Digital Resources: catholicdr.com/ebooks/relationships.htm
Lord: You know the depths of my heart. I give it to You, I want You to be my real treasure. May everything else be placed where it can praise Your Name. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica