Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time (Memorial Day)
(I Peter 1:3-9; Mark 10:17-27)
Today the United States celebrates Memorial Day. For generations Americans have isolated a day at the end of May to pray for their war dead. These primarily include young men who died in wars fought to defend their country. Because they were young, they tended to rashly follow their hearts’ desires. The prayer is that God will forgive them any sins and reward them for serving their country. In this way they too will partake of the rich inheritance promised in today’s reading from I Peter.
The Letter of Peter is written for Christians who suffer persecution. The suffering may stem from friends whose corrupt pleasures the disciples of Christ no longer share. Or it may come from authorities who cannot tolerate their abandoning the ancient gods. The letter exhorts those Christians to carry on the struggle. It holds up as a reward the prize of heaven. It also suggests as an even more basic reason to resist temptation in their relationship with Jesus. He will one day be revealed as savior of the whole world.
As well as our war dead we should pray today for those who are being persecuted for their faith. Whether they are Christians in Pakistan, Muslims in Myanmar, or Baha’is in Iran, we pray that they will realize the promise of Jesus Christ. Having tried, as they did, to serve others, we pray that God will welcome them into eternal life.