It can be comforting to treat today’s Gospel as another of Jesus’s hyperboles about the call to discipleship. However, we should not avoid its truth.
The man in the Gospel seeking eternal life had observed all the commandments Jesus named from the law. Yet to enter God’s reign, it is not enough to follow the rules. We must follow Jesus, whose very example goes beyond abiding by the law to completely handing over of his entire life to God’s will. To follow Christ, we must reorient our entire lives and give up the things we hold most dear—systems that privilege us, laws that shield us from intruders to our comfort, possessions that secure us, control that seduces us into self-reliance.To be in relationship with the powerless is to be in relationship with Jesus, who, on the cross, gives up everything—power, riches, control, life—for the sake of the Gospel. Click To Tweet
There is another truth embedded here. Your relationships, not your possessions, give you a place in God’s household. Again and again, Mark’s Jesus calls us into relationship with those most powerless in the world. To be in relationship with them is to be in relationship with Jesus, who, on the cross, gives up everything—power, riches, control, life—for the sake of the Gospel.
“Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Mk 10:21). Personal engagement with the outcast and complete giving of ourselves to Christ: these are the marks of the disciple.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- Opening our lives to the stranger
- The meaning of prayer
- Hospitality of home and heart
- Can we be neighbors?
- Leading music and prayer