Sunday, October 14, 2012

“A false sense of security can distract you from what God’s plan is for you”

Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that Christ is with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.  - Blessed Pope John Paul II

(Gospel text: Mk 10:17-30)
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."
Peter began to say to him,
"We have given up everything and followed you."
Jesus said, "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."

What a vivid image!

God’s word is razor sharp, able to cut through our innermost thoughts. It can expose the inner motives and desires of our hearts. Most of us would cringe at the thought of such a weapon. So it’s good to know that this isn’t the whole picture.

If we want a fuller picture, we need to look at today’s Gospel reading. A wealthy man asks Jesus how he can gain eternal life. Jesus recounts the commandments, and the man is sure he has kept them.

What is he still missing?

This is when Mark gives us a vital detail: Jesus looked at him, “loved him,” and told him to give his money to the poor and then come follow him (Mark 10:21).

It’s this look of love that cut through the man’s confusion and exposed his real self. Jesus saw his sincerity, but also saw the “one thing” that stood in his way: he was too attached to his wealth (Mark 10:21). Jesus’ “look” wasn’t one of harsh scrutiny. It was an inviting look. It was a warm and compassionate look that saw the man’s strengths and weaknesses and offered him the grace to become the disciple he wanted to be.

It’s unfortunate that the rich man “went away sad” (Mark 10:22). But you don’t have to follow his footsteps!

Every day, Jesus, the living Word of God, looks on you with the same penetrating gaze. He sees everything in you the good, the bad, and the ugly and he loves you intensely.

So take a moment now to let Jesus search you. As you do, you’ll discover that he sees so much goodness in your heart, goodness that you take for granted or didn’t even know was there. Of course he sees areas that need to change. But he is so happy with everything else that he is more than eager to help you make those changes.

“Do not be afraid to put out into the deep waters and lower your nets for a catch.”  -Blessed Pope John Paul II

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