Gospel Lesson for the 28th Day in Ordinary Time: Mark 10:17-31
17 As he 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?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 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.’” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 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.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
23 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!” 24 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! 25 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.” 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 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, 30 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. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
As Jesus is apt to do, he sets up a conundrum, a puzzle, a contradiction, so that the only option is to enter the morass. This is a tension in which we are to live our lives…
With the rich young man, he suggests the way to enter the kingdom on his own without God, is to go and sell all that he has. Forget that! But the lesson is taught. The young man goes away knowing that his wealth is a temptation away from the kingdom.
That is the struggle we all face. We tend to put our life’s security in the money we accumulate. As a young man I was terribly anxious about our family finances. Barb did a miraculous job keeping us solvent, but I worried a lot and kept my spending to a minimum. That doesn’t mean I didn’t selfishly strive after more for my family.
Richard Rohr, in his book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, notes that the first half of the adult life is seeking to establish one’s career and societal status. The second half of life critiques that focus as we seek to live more altruistically.
I think this is a broad generalization. Young adults can live in a tension of how much to spend on themselves and how much to give away. Many of them are better than some older people I know. I think my generosity now is based in part on having enough to live on. There again is the tension in which we live and believe. I think God hooks us on the kingdom as soon as we do something kind and generous for another person. Hopefully we live a life that seeks to experience the kingdom more each day with all that we have.
I could say “Peace to you” but also “good luck!” Our faith is a struggle. Keith