Dear parishioners, greetings in Christ,
Today’s Gospel of Mark presents us the story of a young man who runs up to Jesus, knelt down before him, called him good teacher, and asks, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Certainly this man heard about Jesus before and provably this was his first opportunity to speak to him; he just didn’t walk bur run toward Jesus. The young man, if not entirely at least partially, recognized Jesus’ divine origin, called him good teacher and asked about eternal life.
After asking him why do you call me good, Jesus addressed the young’s man concern; ‘you know the commandments. You shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal,’ etc. Following the dialogue, we learned that the young man has observed the commandments since early age. Mark is very descriptive of Jesus’ second look at the man in the narrative: ‘looking at him loved him and said.’ It is quite difficult to imagine that someone loves a person just at the first gaze. It might mean that Jesus looked at him with compassion and mercy.
It is evident with the narrative that it was a very profound look so much so that Jesus saw not only his face but the young man’s entire life. Yes, he had observed the commandments up to now but there was much more in his life and he was not willing to stay it. According to Jesus’ findings, he was lacking one thing. In a very clear way, Jesus makes two requests to the young man.
First, ‘Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.’ Second, ‘come and follow me.’ We know the end of the story, the young man went off sad because he had many possessions.
Once again, Jesus teaches us that becoming his disciples requires a giving up of something. Sometimes it could be being more generous with one’s material blessings or leaving behind a place in which we feel comfortable in. Becoming Jesus’ disciple could also mean leaving behind family or people we love. Whatever that is, which we need to give up, Jesus always assures us that we will never be left empty handed.
“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come” (Mark 10: 29-30). With great joy we have become Jesus’ disciples. We know what we have given up. However, is there still something in me which I still hold on to that Jesus is asking me to give up?
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.