Welcoming the Holy

Here we invite you to take time for yourself in personal prayer. The following spiritual reflection offers words and images which we hope will evoke for you an experience of God. 


 

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 
 

Opening Prayer

O God, may your grace go before us and follow us at all times And make us determined to carry out good works. Amen (adapted Collect of today’s Mass)

 

Reading 

Mark 10: 17 – 27

 As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments:                                                                                                                                         You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."      
 

Reflection

 “All things are possible for God.”  We have heard that many times in our prayer and from pulpits and pastoral visits.  This assurance is supposed to make us feel better and confident that God has our back.  But do we believe it?  Do we understand what it means in our lives?  Do we experience this great and glorious realm of possibility or are we locked into our own limited set of expectations and desired outcomes?
I believe that as human beings, we often get stuck in the first part of this reading – the part that lists the “commandments” we are to follow in order to have eternal life. We are most comfortable with this reality that gives us almost a checklist of behaviors and attitudes that will gain us God’s love and God’s positive action in our life. Many of us prefer to be able to keep a balance sheet of what we do and the consequences of those actions. This “economic” approach to God’s action in our lives and our world is a most human construct.
I believe Jesus turns this sort of human interpretation upside down as he speaks of the limitless nature of God’s love and compassion. Also, Jesus speaks of an Incarnate God who is active in our world, even if those actions to not line up with our expectations and hopes. This is a God who continues to love us even when challenges and struggles arise. The rich, young person in the Gospel wants an “if … then …” God so that the salvation checklist can be completed and life can go on. This is not an interpretation of faith that grows deeper as one experiences and understands the limitless, judgement-free and abundant love of God. Yes, the rich, young person went away sad because he or she realized that salvation cannot be measured or earned. It is pure gift. Let us pray for one another that we might all grow in that understanding through grace. This is the joy we are promised.
 

Closing Prayer

Fill us with your love, O God, and we will sing for joy! Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Amen (Psalm 90)