Mark 10: 17-30
DIFFICULT CHOICE OR DISAPPOINTING ENCOUNTER?
The Gospel speaks of the unexpected encounter of Jesus with a young man who seems to be preoccupied by an ultimate goal: to obtain eternal life. How can a person so pious and blessed with temporal possessions approach Jesus, a carpenter of Nazareth, who does not have even a stone upon which to rest his head? (Luke 9:58) His attitude consists of respect and confidence. Besides, he addresses Jesus on his knees, calling him “good Master.” We can even affirm that his confession of faith in Jesus is sincere. Jesus recognizes the moral qualities of this man: “He looked at him and loved him.”
However, Jesus invites him to go beyond the observance of the precepts of the Law. “Go, sell what you have and give it to the poor, then come, follow me.” The meeting seems to end on a disappointing note: love without response and the sadness of refusal. The pride of fulfilling the commandments concluded with an outcome of failure. As strong as he was in belief and fidelity, he lacked the strength to become a disciple of the Good Master.
It was in this way that Jesus taught him and teaches us that faith is a relationship of love and not a legal reality.
His teaching calls us to go beyond. It is not enough to be faithful to the commandments of God, we are invited to follow in his footsteps. To become his disciple will not be successful without a certain self-giving. This is the novelty of meeting with Christ. It should free us from what entraps us as we leave those riches which slow us down in our following of his ways by the side of the road. To give up our ease, our desires to possess and power, are a heroic choice. It does not come through our own strength. This radical choice is not final, it needs to be renewed each day by the grace of the Holy Spirit who alone can produce from our wanderings and our falls, strength to live with him and through him for: “everything is possible with God.”
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.”
The Gospel of the Lord