Daily Reflection
February 28th, 2000
Steve Kline
Public Relations
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1 Peter 1:3-9
Psalms 111:1-2, 5-6, 9-10
Mark 10:17-27

". . . you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy . . . "
                                                                                           1 Peter, 1:8

"Jesus, looking at him, loved him . . . "
                                                                                           Mark 10:21

I hugged my 7-year-old daughter and said:  "I love you, baby."

"I love you, too, Daddy," she said in response.

Not five minutes later, after I told her she could not walk down the basement stairs with her roller skates on, she said:

"You're MEAN!  I HATE you!"

One of the things I love about my daughters, and about 7-year-olds, is the passion with which they greet each moment of life.

Today's first reading invites me to experience child-like joy in God's saving love for me.  He embraces me and He tells me in all sorts of ways how deeply He loves me.  His promise of everlasting life in His embrace is astounding.  It should elicit joy. 

Often I am distracted.  I lose my focus on God and His saving love.  Challenges at work, responsibilities at home, the overwhelming busy-ness of the world can become obsessions.  This is true especially if I believe that I must do things and acquire things in order to shore up my security. 

I always am struck by Jesus' loving response to the rich man in today's Gospel passage.  The rich man wants security.  Jesus loves the man, who, like a disappointed 7-year-old, turns his back on love and walks away.  Still Jesus loves him.  Jesus must let the man go, but He loves him.

I am not rich and probably never will be.  In order for me to understand today's Gospel, I must substitute the word "distracted" for "rich." I certainly can identify with the wealthy man's frantic striving for security.  He asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  At least he's asking the right question.  Sometimes I don't even know the question.  Some of the time I believe my security lies in working harder, doing more things, making sure the home and family are provided for.  The demands of day-to-day living distract me from feeling God's love. 

"How hard it is for a distracted man to enter the kingdom of God."

In today's Gospel, Jesus gently tells me that He requires my full attention.  The choice is mine:  I can be attentive, or I can turn away in despair and confusion.

The season of Lent approaches.  It promises freedom and joy.  Freedom from distractions that distance me from God.  Joy in God's loving embrace.  The opportunity to stop, to be loved, and say to God:  "I love you, too, Daddy."

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