Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
March 3rd, 2014
Greg O'Meara, S.J.
Rector, Jesuit Community
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Monday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time
[347] 1 Peter 1:3-9
Psalm 111:1-2, 5-6, 9+10c
Mark 10:17-27
As a law professor, my job is to stick with the text in most situations, but as a priest, I sometimes think there might be something more beneath the surface.  Today’s reading from Mark presents one of those occasions.  The opening of the Gospel is quite bracing. Jesus is setting out on a journey, and while he is presumably on the road, he is stopped by a man who runs up and kneels before him.  This is a pretty dramatic opening, not likely common among Jews of this period, but Jesus seems to think that the man is being sincere in the way he treats him.  The man asks how he may inherit eternal life.  Jesus quotes the last six of the ten commandments— those dealing with human relationships, and the man, we may believe quite sincerely, says as honestly as he can, “Teacher I have kept these since my childhood.”  Jesus then looks at him with love and tells him, “There is one thing more you must do. Go sell what you have and give to the poor, and come follow me.”  At these words the man’s face fell.  He went away sad because he had many possessions....

The textualist in me has to end the scene there; the priest keeps hoping.  When I think of the Gospel, this episode seems less like an ending for the rich man than a beginning.  Rather than seeing his encounter with Jesus as a definitive rejection and slamming of some door, I think of it as the beginning of a journey with God– remember, he remains on the road....  Our faith teaches us that God is always reaching out to us, always inviting us, always welcoming us, however unready we may be.  Perhaps the rich man walked away that day, but that’s not the end of the road.  God does not give up on us, and perhaps this first awkward encounter with Christ simply is the beginning of a very real and therefore very messy path that will one day result in true discipleship. 
Our own lives can be a bit messy and complicated at times as well.  Maybe what we need to do is pray for the grace to remember that God continues to invite us, wherever we find ourselves.    
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