October 13, 2012

28th Sunday - B


Right Intention, Wrong Direction

The man described in this Sunday’s Gospel passage probably had every earthly possession a person in those days could have.   And with the wealth came social status, respect, power ….  It was very likely that he had it all.

Often time we have thought of his failure in following Jesus.

However, in all fairness, he should at least get the credit for knowing that he does not have everything yet.   

By the common understanding of his time, he must have been on good terms with God.  Wealth was considered a concrete sign of God’s reward to those who were walking in God’s way.

Whatever people might have thought of him, he knew that he was still missing “eternal life.”  So he came “running” to Jesus and asked the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

He asked the wrong question, thinking of eternal life as something he could achieve or gain by doing things. [1] As Jesus pointed out, eternal life or entrance to the Kingdom of God is first and foremost God’s free and gracious gift.

But at least the man knew that he did not have everything yet.

How about me?  Do I even know that I need God?  Or the more possessions, talents, popularity, power, and opportunities I have, the less I think of God?  If so, I am even further off than this man. 

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary.  Peabody, MA: Hendrikson Publishers, 2002; p. 199.

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