Gospel Reflection – Oct 10
Sunday, October 10
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 10: 17-30
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”
Many of us may be aware of – or know – that there are verses of scripture used to “greet” us on a coffee cup, bumper sticker, or wall poster. Sometimes these verses keep us going and lift our spirits. However, there is a pretty good chance that we never see the verses of this weekend’s gospel used that way. No one ever buys a cup with verse 21 on it: “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.’” Even with the promise of treasure in heaven, we don’t find this passage inspiring. We want to hurry past it, to get to the coffee cup verses. We don’t want to read this story, and when we do read it, we want to find a way to wiggle out of it.
Jesus calls the rich young man in today’s gospel – and us – to invest in the kingdom of God. The more we give, the more sacrifices we make, and the more involved we become – then the more joy we will experience when we enter the kingdom of God. Not that God will love anyone more, but that the experience of joy will well up in the one who has made the biggest investment. When we volunteer, when we work among the poor, when we put in “sweat equity” and give sacrificially, we reflect God’s love for us.
Maybe Jesus tells us that we also build treasure in heaven. Investing time to work among those who suffer may break our hearts for now. We may see and experience things that grieve us. That sets us up for the joy when we see those who suffer find healing and love in the Resurrection.
We can’t give everything away. We couldn’t live like that. However, we can take risks; we can invest in God’s ministry among the poor and hurting. We can build treasure in heaven.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino