Monday, May 23, 2016

Reflection: Mark 10:17-27

Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time - Mark 10:17-27

Now that we have celebrated the feast of Pentecost, we return to Ordinary Time. The Gospel that begins Ordinary Time for us is the story of the man who comes to Jesus and asks him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Rather than answering the man’s question, Jesus asks the man a question, “Why do you call me good? Only God alone is good.” Jesus is a bit abrupt with the man. He then tells him, “You know the commandments! Do what the commandments tell you.”

However, the young man is not satisfied. He tells Jesus that he has followed the commandments since he was a young child. The young man longs to do more than to simply follow the commandments; he yearns for something deeper. Mark writes: “Jesus looked at the man and loved him.” What a powerful and yet tender statement! Clearly, this young man wished to give his all to God and to wholeheartedly live out the commandments of God.

Jesus is surprised by this young man’s deep and sincere desire and instantly Jesus’ heart was filled with love for this young man who hungers for God.  In response to the young man’s question, Jesus tells him that he is lacking one thing. He tells the young man to sell all his belongings, give the money to the poor, and then come and follow him. This was not the response for which the young man was hoping. When the man begins to comprehend what Jesus is saying, he is stupefied. He wants to follow Jesus; however, he never expected that he would have to give away all his belongings and leave his family and his friends to become an itinerant follower of Jesus. The price of following Jesus was far too steep for this young man. Eventually the young man walked away from Jesus sad and dismayed.

What about us? Are we willing to give up everything we have to follow Jesus? At times, the cost of following Jesus simply may be too high for us. We might have to leave behind all that we have struggled to build and secure.   Yet, are we truly happy with our lives?  Do our possessions and security really bring us happiness?

Are we open to letting go of our seeming security and trust that Jesus will provide for us or do we think that Jesus is asking too much of us?  Our happiness lies in how we answer these questions!  We have a choice.  What will we choose? 

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