Dear Believers in the Christ,
In Mark 10:17-30, a man approaches Jesus to find out if he can inherit eternal life. Jesus articulates the commandments and realizes the man already knows them. The man says that, in fact, he has lived the commandments since his youth. Jesus says to him that there is one thing missing. He must sell his possessions and give to the poor. Then, when he is completely powerless on earth, he will possess his desire to enter the Kingdom.
The liturgical gospel passages have been challenging us to the core. They command that we examine our earthly attachments. Our hearts are set on the love of the Kingdom, and nothing should get in the way of our life in Christ. We all know how challenging these gospels are in our personal lives. We all have responsibilities to others we love. These responsibilities mean we help provide for our children’s lives and futures, both financial and physical realities.
To what are our hearts attached?
I don’t take this question lightly. In most cases we tend to ignore these commands of Jesus because we all live busy lives with great responsibilities. However, when we quiet our lives and take stock of our personal identities, we realize we are attached to many things that become obstacles to love. We may be attached to our sense of entitlement, resenting even Jesus who challenges us to live with generosity. We may be overly attached to alcohol or food or making sure we always position ourselves to look good in every situation. We may be addicted to belittling other people. We may be attached to what others think of us. We may never fully appreciate our own gifts and talents. We may attach our self-worth to the car we drive and the job we have and what school we attended. We may strive to always be in charge and in control and never let life change us. No matter how we want to ignore these questions of Jesus, when push comes to shove, we need to examine our lives.
If we are honest with ourselves and with God, we come to terms with everything that is false. Pride is never generous. There is no job title that becomes our real identity. Our children’s lives are not the identity of the parent’s life. Examining the human heart takes time and energy and focus. We are challenged by Christ to give up our status and our control and instead delight in the life God has for us. We are to give what we own to those who most need us. We are to offer others supplies for daily survival.
Jesus tells the man that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom. Jesus says to us that all things are possible in God. This is the core of our existence, the possibility of God’s presence and love in our midst. The possibility of change, of forgiveness, of mercy, of true love and tenderness, all become God’s activity in our human lives when we finally rest in God and recognize the value of our humanity. Jesus invites us to clear away the debris in our hearts, in our attachments to disrespect and false power, and rest in him. God is within us. The Incarnation of Jesus Christ reveals life’s value and love. Being human is a pure and joyous gift in God.
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor