Faith Daily | 28 February 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 544
you have given your only son
to be for us both a sacrifice for sin,
and also an example of godly life:
give us grace that we may always thankfully receive
the benefits of his sacrifice,
and also daily endeavour to follow
the blessed steps of his most holy life;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 10: 17-27
17 As he 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?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You 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.” ’ 20He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21Jesus, 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.’ 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
23 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!’ 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is* to enter the kingdom of God! 25It 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.’ 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another,* ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Kay Murry
Our parish as a whole, and many, if not most of us, are 'rich' by today's global standards.
This man, who, like us, is rich, is also keen to assure himself of 'eternal life'. Jesus' sharp response to being called Good Teacher seems to imply that since only God can be called good, he, Jesus, is not God - and so, not divine - Or does Mark want us to realise Jesus' wise teaching is in fact, from God?
But Jesus does address the man's question, What must I DO to inherit eternal life? first by pointing out that he already knows the rules (commandments) on how to live. Unlike most of us - he's confident he's always kept them all! Jesus, lovingly, doesn't quibble with this, but his next three answers to the man's 'what must I DO?' are unequivocal - first, sell his 'many possessions'; second, give the proceeds to the poor; (is there a hint here that gaining them might have been at the expense of some of those same poor?) and third, THEN follow Jesus. So the young man grieved because he couldn't have both his many possessions and 'eternal life'. And the uncomfortable question for us is - do we really have to give away all we possess before we can truly follow Jesus?
Next, Jesus seems to equate being in The Kingdom of God with the 'eternal life' the man desired, and the disciples are understandably confounded that Jesus says these rich, apparently favoured ones would find entry into God's kingdom near impossible: only with God are all things possible.
In Matthew, Jesus says the Kingdom of God is 'near'/'in your midst'/'with you' which scholars suggest he meant in him, Jesus. So - valuing possessions or Jesus above all? We're back to that choice.
I appreciate my comfortable life, but I do want to be moving through that 'eye of a needle' into the Kingdom of God! The best I can see myself doing now, is not to depend on my 'many possessions' to define who I am, to rejoice in my God-given life and its many gifts, and to share them and my time and talents generously - and of course, to repent when I inevitably fall short, and gratefully accept the God-given gift of forgiveness.
But most important, I can trust that with Jesus as teacher, companion and saviour, I am already in the Kingdom of God and this part of eternal life.
FINAL PRAYER: From a prayer attributed to Abp Tutu, adapted from an original by Sir Francis Drake
...Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim...