Reflections on 1 Peter 1:17-21

The second reading from the 3rd Sunday of Easter is a short one from 1 Peter 1:17-21, but

very meaningful. In the first sentence Peter says that God the Father judges us according to our

deeds. Then no further explanation. The Greek word for deeds is ergon which is usually translated

as work or works. It is almost a “throwaway sentence”; as if everyone already knows that we will

be judged “according to our works”. This agrees with Paul’s teaching in Romans 2 that we will be

judged not only by our faith, but also according to our works-erga in Greek.

 

In the second part of Peter’s letter he also gives us a fascinating ride into the imagery of exile.

The Greek expression for exile or sojourn is “paroikos”. Par meaning “next to or with” and

oikos meaning “house”. Literally, somebody dwelling beside, not inside, the house.

 

Daniel Keating writes in “Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture” that the English word

“parish” derives from paroika, as does parochial. We are Christian “sojourners and aliens” who

are far from our true house. Where is that? It is where God dwells! Our parish is a gathering of

exiles. Just as the Israelites were in exile and God delivered them through the blood of the

Passover Lamb to the promised land, so, too, will we be delivered to our promised land, heaven,

through Christ’s ransom with the blood of the Unblemished Lamb on the cross.

Even though we are literally living outside of our parish during this health crisis, we are still

destined for heaven.

Bill B.