Gospel of Mark 10:17-30
Give everything you own to the poor, and follow me
Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, ‘My children,’ he said to them ‘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 a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were more astonished than ever. ‘In that case’ they said to one another ‘who can be saved?’ Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men and women’ he said ‘it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.’
Peter took this up. ‘What about us?’ he asked him. ‘We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.’
I am drawn to enter this Gospel with the prayer of imaginative contemplation.
I imagine being the young man running up to Jesus. When I get near him I am struck by his loving presence and find myself kneeling before him. I have a thirst for meaning and fulfilment in my heart. I have always felt this restlessness in me for more and to understand this mystery of life. “Is this all that there is?” I have heard myself mutter in the past, I so desire a deeper connection and certainty of what next.
So now I find myself asking this wise teacher before me, as I haven’t so far found what I am looking for, no matter how hard I try to be good in this world.
I am struck by Jesus’ loving gaze. He is holding my heart with it. It feels like he is looking into me and seeing all my feeling, hopes and dreams. I want this moment to last forever and even beyond death. I feel so loved and complete.
He speaks to me and invites me to surrender more, into an even deeper intimacy, butI find myself frightened and I look away and break the connection of his gaze.
I walk away heart broken. He is giving me a choice but it taps into a trust in his love that I don’t know if I am ready for. He is asking me to trust him with everything. I have touched this mystery that fulfils me and yet he gives me the freedom to choose. Sadness fills my heart as I walk the other way.
As I end this imaginative contemplation I ask for the courage to stay in Jesus loving gaze and discover what more he might be inviting me to.
I pray for deeper conversion of my heart and all hearts over our beautiful but troubled world, that together we may be less attached to possessions that take us away from relationships and loving service.