October 14, 2018
Just in time. Jesus is setting out on a journey, a man runs up, kneels and asks: “Good Teacher – What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Aware of his sincerity, Jesus asks if he observes the commandments. He replies: “From my youth.” Jesus looking at him “loved him” advising: “Go sell what you have, give to the poor (you will have treasure in heaven) then come follow me.” Crestfallen, he goes away sad for he has many possessions.
Jesus gives this eager and sincere man the key(s) to inherit eternal life: be a decent person/obey the commandments and (sensing a deeper longing) come follow me. Jesus is inviting the man to do what Jesus is embarking upon himself. Jesus is leaving his home and center of his ministry at Capernaum to journey to Jerusalem at the cost of his own life.
We see this exchange/encounter in the Gospel according to St. Mark exemplified in two people canonized today at St. Peter Basilica: Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero. Giovanni Battista Montini, as Archbishop of Milan, commissioned the clergy: “I send you into the world. You must share its hopes and sorrows, not its baseness and its vulgarity. You must live spiritually.” This is how the future Pope related with university students in Rome and with workers in Milan. Romero after becoming Archbishop of San Salvador identified with the poor and oppressed. Both of these men followed Jesus even to the cross.
I have sympathy for the man in the Gospel. How many of us would sell what we have, leave family, home and occupation, and set out with an itinerant preacher? Is it possible that on second thought he reconsidered the invitation of Jesus and again sought him out; that God instilled in him the gift of wisdom to discern what is truly precious? All things are possible with God.
There are words that are more than words. Examples: when we swear under oath to tell the truth or when we promise our love and fidelity in marriage or promise obedience at ordination. Our words can take on deeper meaning and become word-events. In our First Reading from Isaiah, the Jewish prophet, speaking for God, announces an oracle of salvation. God is coming to hea... READ MORE
There is a beautiful name for God in the Letter of Saint James: “Father of Lights.” “All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures … Religion that is pure a... READ MORE
St. Paul admonishes the Ephesians: “Brothers and Sisters: ‘Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.’” Paul’s letter, written long ago, cautions us, during evil days, to be mindful o... READ MORE
The crowd seeks Jesus out for more bread. Aware of their intention Jesus urges “the seekers” to work for food that endures for eternal life. They ask how to obtain this bread. Jesus urges them to “believe in” in the one God sent into the world. Recall John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son that everyone who believes in him might not peris... READ MORE
The crowd follows Jesus back to Capernaum. Jesus fed the multitude and now they seek him out for more food. He admonishes them: “Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life which the son of man will give you.” Curious, they ask: “What can we do to accomplish the works of God.” Jesus replies: “This is the work of God, believe in t... READ MORE