Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time (Memorial Day)
(I Peter 1:3-9; Mark 10:17-27)
“Where have all the flowers gone?” asks a popular folk song of the 1960s. It answers its own question: flowers have gone to young girls, who have gone to soldiers, who have gone to graveyards, from which have sprouted more flowers. And so the world never seems to learn that war terribly wastes human life. Today the United States remembers its war dead, mostly young men who were killed in military actions instigated by others. Many will pray that all those who have given their lives in defense of their country will receive the inheritance afforded by Christ as the reading from the first letter of Peter states.
The letter is obviously meant to shore up the hope of early Christians suffering persecution. The author reminds them that faith has eternal salvation as its goal. He assures them that whatever trial they experience will be richly rewarded if they can, like their brother Jesus, love those who oppose them even when their enemies’ swords are raised against them.
Since expecting soldiers in battle to love their enemies means more self-denial than most people can muster, we pray that God will be merciful to the dead ones. We hope that He will examine their lives to find one selfless deed reminiscent of His Son and for that allow them a dwelling place in His kingdom.