Wisdom 7: 7-11 Hebrews 4: 12-13 Mark 10: 17-27
We are all familiar with headlines, trailers, sound-bytes that seek to capture our attention in the hope of having us listen, view or read whatever is the subject matter. Clever devices are used in order to capture our interest. We might consider this a way to appreciate the passages from Gospel of St. Mark. They are an effort to gain our attention, to have us listen and react in response. Over the past few weeks we have been hearing different circumstances or different questions that have been presented. The response given by Jesus, however, was not what was expected.
Recall the response which was given when, in answer to a question, Peter correctly identified Jesus as the “Christ,” the one who was anticipated, the anointed one. When the Apostles challenged that the Christ was to be rejected, betrayed, and executed, they were severely reprimanded. Recall the argument about who was to be the greatest in power and position. That thinking was rejected. A child, one with no status, was placed before them. They were told to be like that child. Recall the discussion last week about marriage. What had been known and practiced in the past was not what had been intended. Marriage was to reflect the relationship with God as committed, permanent, faithful and life-giving.
In a way, then, the Gospel, The Good News of Jesus Christ, upsets the status quo, the comfortable. It does so with the purpose of getting listeners, getting us, to think differently, to evaluate what is more important, what is of greater value. This we are to do while keeping in mind the thought of the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews. We are to understand the Word of God to be like a sword that pierces to the core. It goes deeper than what is superficial. It gets to a very fundamental issue of how we approach being alive.
Think through the Gospel passage we heard in this way. The disappointment, the failure of the wealthy man stemmed from the fact that he could not detach himself from what he had. Whatever we might have or not have, the basic lesson for us as Christians is that we always need to be able to put things into perspective. We need to be able to detach ourselves from what is around us. Perhaps this means detachment from material goods. But, more importantly, it means detachment from attitudes or outlooks that are contrary to the values Christ teaches us. It means detachment from situations which do not lead us closer to our loving God.
We are to act in this way so that we might be better able to attach ourselves to what is important. Not only is this a deeper relationship with God, but also how that relationship affects all that we do and all that we value in life.
How often do we allow ourselves to be upset or unhappy or angry because others have things that we do not? Or because of our concern about what others might say about us? Or because things do not happen just the way we might want them to happen?
Jesus’ teaching challenges us to look at things differently and to evaluate honestly what is our lives is most important. At times this may be difficult, as is evident from what we have heard from this Gospel over the past few weeks. But the response from us that is sought is to hear what Christ declares and to do all that we can so that our lives genuinely reflect faith and trust in our good and gracious God.