Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Book of Wisdom 7:7-11, Psalm 90:12-13. 14-15, 16-17, Hebrews 4:12-13, &
In today's Gospel narrative, an unnamed man approaches Jesus and inquires about what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replies that one must follow the commandments of the Law of Moses. The man acknowledges that he has observed all of these since his childhood. Jesus then states that only one thing is lacking. The man must give his possessions to the poor and follow Jesus. The man leaves in sadness, as Saint Mark tells us because the man had many possessions.
Jesus makes two requirements of the wealthy man who approached Him. First, he must give up his possessions. Throughout history, some Christians have taken this request to heart. Their example witnesses to us is a radical commitment to the Gospel of Jesus. Some have read this requirement directed to this specific individual. Still, others have sought to explain the meaning of 'possessions' as those things that prevent one from following Jesus. Christians have understood that, at the very least, following Jesus requires that believers hold material possessions loosely and remain vigilant against seeking security in their accumulation of possessions.
The second requirement Jesus makes of this man is the invitation that he must follow Him. Our Lord very much wants this man to be His disciple. We believe that the Christian faith is one in which each believer is in a personal relationship with Jesus. Just as this Gospel tells us that Jesus loves the man and is sad when he departs, so too, Jesus loves us and is saddened when we choose not to follow him. Another example from Saint Mark's shows Jesus offering further elaboration about His message and meaning to His disciples in this Gospel passage. To His disciples, Jesus laments the challenges faced by those of wealth in following Him and entering the Kingdom of God. In reply to the disciples' astonishment at the strict standard of which He speaks, Jesus reminds His disciples that nothing is impossible with God. Our ability to completely rely upon God determines our salvation.
Peter replies to Jesus by boasting that the disciples have already given up everything for Jesus. Our Lord acknowledges that those who have given up everything for the sake of the Gospel will be rewarded. This reward begins now, in the new community that one will gain in this life and will continue in the eternal age to come. Our relationship with Jesus is also an invitation to the community of faith, the Church.
Question of the Day: How will you respond to Jesus' request to follow Him?
Prayer: "The rich suffer want and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing" —Psalm 34(33):11