We've given up everything. Now what? Peter's question seems ungenerous, but actually has deep meaning.
Today’s readings can be found here.
“We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?”
Peter’s question in the Gospel today seems ungenerous, but in reality it’s a serious question full of meaning, because renouncing something inevitably makes us feel emptiness, a lack, precariousness. Very often we support our lives on what we have, and when we give up something we possess, it’s never totally without pain.
Peter is asking, “How should we deal with the neediness that has been created in us by having left many things behind?”
Jesus answers that the recompense is extraordinary: getting the same things back a hundredfold:
“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.”
What does this mean in existential terms? It means that if you possess something in an unhealthy way, you can’t truly enjoy it. But if you decide to free yourself of that unhealthy form of ownership, then you will at last have that same thing in a way that will make you enjoy it fully.
Jesus asks us to work on the way we “own” so we can experience a life of freedom, no longer needing reassurances but able to relish the flavor of everything. In this sense, such freedom multiplies life a hundredfold.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio’, Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.