Reflection on The Gospel of Mark 10:17-31 20th Sunday after Pentecost October 10, 2021

The Gospel of Mark 10:17-31

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.  Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Let us Pray: We approach the God of Life with complete confidence that he hears and answers our prayers. God has already taken notice of each of us. God already loves each and every one of us. We have only to follow in Jesus steps to get God’s attention. In your Name, Amen.

Applying this to work today requires real sensitivity and honesty about our own instincts and values. Wealth is sometimes a result of work, ours, or someone else’s, but work itself can also be an emotional obstacle to following Jesus. If we have privileged positions managing our careers may become more important than serving others, doing good work, or even making time for family, civic, and spiritual life. It may hinder us from opening ourselves to an unexpected calling from God. Our wealth and privilege may make us arrogant or insensitive to the people around us. These difficulties are not unique to people of wealth and privilege, of course. Perhaps we need to examine our minds and hearts and be honest with ourselves.  It is easy to say we are followers of Jesus; but it is not easy truly to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Yes, Jesus’ encounter with the rich man highlights that it is hard to motivate yourself to change the world if you are already on top of the heap. Before those of us of modest means and status in the Western world let ourselves off the hook, let us ask whether, by world standards, we also have become complacent because of our wealth and status. So, are we concerned about getting God to care?  Even if we aren’t, guess what, the thing is, God already cares. Let us be thankful for the love that shone in Christ’s eyes as this love is a reflection of God’s love. We may blame; He loved. Jesus saw the fault of the rich man, but He saw the longing to be better. The dim sense of insufficiency which had driven this questioner to Him was clear to that all-knowing and all-loving heart. Do not let us harshly judge the mistakes of those who would want to be taught, nor regard the professions of innocence, which come from defective perception, as if they were the proud utterances of a Pharisee. But Christ’s love is firm and can be severe. It never pares down His requirements to make discipleship easier. Jesus longs to have followers who have a deep commitment to him and his ministry. And this is what Jesus wants from each of us.  If we are deeply committed to Jesus and if we truly give our all, we also will receive a hundred times more than we have given. What a promise! This attracts followers by insisting most strenuously on the most difficult experience. The command is but Christ’s application of His broad requirement, ‘If thine eye causes thee to stumble, pluck it out.’ The principle involved is, surrender what hinders entire following of Jesus. When that sacrifice is made, we shall be in contact with the fountain of goodness, and have eternal life, not as payment, but as a gift. Will we follow Jesus today, even if the cost seems great?  I pray we will!

Let us Pray: Let us thank God knowing that He cares about each and everyone of us.  Amen

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