SUNDAY’S GOSPEL – Mark 10:17-30.

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; Honour 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.”

POINTERS FOR PRAYER

  1. We often get satisfaction from the things we own, clothes, cars, homes, gadgets, or money. There would be something unnatural if we did not. But what happens to us when our possessions begin to ‘own’ us, when they take a hold us, when we become obsessed with them? Jesus seeks followers who have the freedom to let go of possessions in order to be a servant of others. In whom have you seen this freedom? When have you experienced it yourself?
  2. Growth implies change. That change sometimes means letting go of something we have at this moment: job, status, home, security, or something else we value. There can be an apparent loss in letting go but when have you found that you gained by having the freedom to let go of something you had previously clung to?
  3. The disciples thought that Jesus was making impossible demands of people following him. He acknowledged that discipleship was impossible to us on our own efforts alone. How have you experienced the benefits of the help of others and of God when you were faced with difficulties in life?

We all have our own “emotional programmes for happiness.” These are part of who we are from a very young age, structured around what was happening then in our lives. To continue in these attitudes well beyond the need for them is the common human experience. At the same time, the call to be fully alive entails some kind of conversion, some kind of letting go. Commonly, something triggers this growth and we become aware of hitherto unrecognised blocks. We may even have the help of someone like Jesus to put his/her finger on the hidden hesitations.