Ordinary Time is back, and with it, an extraordinary pairing of readings for today's Mass. Peter is our guide today in both readings: the first reading is from the 1st letter of Peter, and matches amazingly with the Gospel in which Peter--having just watched the Rich Young Man "go away sad"--speaks up. "We have left everything to follow you," he tells Jesus matter-of-factly. Decades later, he would tell the first generation Christians "set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you."
And Jesus will not let Peter and the others (us included) "go away sad." You will, he promises, "receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
Peter seems to be looking toward that "age to come" when he writes of "the grace to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
The readings, and their common thrust, reminded me of something Pope John Paul wrote in "Vita Consecrata." He is contemplating the scene of the Transfiguration, another time when Peter speaks up while the others simply stare, wide-eyed. "How good it is to be with you!" he tells Jesus, revealed on the mountain in majesty. John Paul, as it were, continues in Peter's name: "How good it is to be with you, to devote ourselves to you, to make you the one focus of our lives!"
Maybe here, in our "ordinary" life, it doesn't seem possible to truly make the Lord the "one focus of our lives," but Peter still urges us to a practical sort of hope, with confidence that the promise made still holds true: set your hopes--even now, even today--completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" who, even now, even today, is completely yours.