The Catholic Daily Reflections Series was written to help you enter more deeply into the Holy Scriptures and the Catholic Liturgy on a daily basis. Through these reflections and prayers, you are invited to embrace the Word of God in a personal, engaging, challenging and transforming way.
Catholic Daily Reflections: Ordinary Time May 24–August 31, 2021 is available in a variety of forms. See our website for electronic or audio/video versions or to sign up for our free daily email at: www.mycatholic.life. The paperback and eBook versions here offer an easy way for you to daily ponder the holy Gospel during Ordinary Time.
Below is a sample reflection for Easter Sunday to give you a preview of our approach. May God bless you on your journey of personal conversion!
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
An Exchange of Gifts
Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said, “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…” Mark 10:29–30
Jesus’ statement above is in response to Peter who said to Him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” It was as if Peter were patting himself on the back, attempting to highlight just how much he and the other disciples had sacrificed to follow Jesus. And it was true, they did give up everything of their former life. They left home, their occupation, their relationships and everything that had been part of their daily established life in response to the call of Jesus. They were truly all in.
In hearing this statement from Peter, Jesus does not give the expected response. He doesn’t say to Peter, “Yes, you have, that’s very impressive Peter. Good job and thank you!” Instead, Jesus immediately explains to Peter that the sacrifice he and the others have made is worth it. Their unwavering commitment to follow Jesus would be repaid with gifts beyond their imagination. Thus, Jesus was saying that the gifts that He would bestow upon them would be exponentially greater than every sacrifice they made.
This was not a belittling of Peter’s self-sacrifice; rather, it was a form of encouragement by Jesus. He was encouraging Peter, and the other disciples, to have full confidence in their decision to follow Him. Their sacrifice would yield a hundred fold return. That is truly a good investment.
It can be tempting for us all, at times, to feel as though God asks too much of us. It’s true that God asks much of us. He asks everything from us. He asks for the complete and total gift of our lives to Him. He calls us to abandon all selfishness and to dedicate ourselves to His holy will without exception. But if we understand the reward of our self-giving, then the sacrifices we make will pale in comparison to the reward.
Reflect, today, upon whether or not you can say those words of the Apostle, Saint Peter: “Lord, I have given up everything to follow You.” Have you truly given your life completely to Christ Jesus? Are there things that you still hold back, not wanting to “sacrifice” for our Lord? Ponder those words of Peter and allow yourself to see the areas of your life you still need to surrender over to Jesus. And as you do so, allow the reward promised by our Lord to motivate you to the point that you truly hold nothing back and truly have given up everything to follow His holy will.
My generous Lord, You ask everything of me. You ask me to abandon everything in my pursuit of Your perfect will. Give me the grace I need to answer Your call and to live sacrificially for You without counting the cost. You are generous beyond description, dear Lord, and I trust that following You will produce an abundance of good fruit. Jesus, I trust in You.
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About the Author
“John Paul Thomas” is the pen name chosen by this author in honor of the apostles Saints John and Thomas and the great evangelist Saint Paul. This name also evokes the memory of the great Pope Saint John Paul II.
John is the beloved apostle who sought out a deeply personal and intimate relationship with his Savior. Hopefully the writings in this book point us all to a deeply personal and intimate relationship with our God. May John be a model of this intimacy and love.
Thomas is also a beloved apostle and close friend of Jesus but is well known for his lack of faith in Jesus’ resurrection. Though he ultimately entered into a profound faith crying out, “my Lord and my God,” he is given to us as a model of our own weakness of faith. Thomas should inspire us to always return to faith when we realize we have doubted.
As a Pharisee, Paul severely persecuted the early Christian Church. However, after going through a powerful conversion, he went on to become the great evangelist to the gentiles, founding many new communities of believers and writing many letters contained in Sacred Scripture. His letters are deeply personal and reveal a shepherd’s heart. He is a model for all as we seek to embrace our calling to spread the Gospel.