Scripture: Lectionary 144. Wisdom 7:7-11. Psalm 90:12-13.14-15.16-17. Hebrews 4:12-13. Mark 10:17-30
Wisdom and renunciation! They are not contradictory as we learn from both the Book of Wisdom and from the Gospel. This Sunday emphasizes both; it is almost present in even one of the readings listed above. Hebrews shows us just how powerful the word of God is. The word(s) of God is Wisdom. We all desire to be wise; we hesitate, however, when we are asked to detach ourselves from things that we cherish. Renunciation is
involved in our call to follow Jesus more closely each day of our lives. We may have to leave something of our own self each day in order to do this. That hurts and touches us deeply. Comfort zones often become needs and soon so much a part of our everyday life that we realize we need a touch of wisdom to put things in order while seeing “the bigger picture.”
The man in the Gospel wants to know what it takes to enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus leads him in the discussion to the point of asking him to do something more than he is doing. He is a good moral man who observes all the commandments. We notice that Jesus makes him especially aware of the those commandments that deal not with God, but with one’s neighbor. Jesus loves him—something that is a rare word in Mark’s Gospel which looks toward the Cross; perhaps, “tough love” may be a shadow of what Mark means when he shows how Jesus teaches this person about cost of discipleship.
Jesus admires him with love and invites him to leave everything and come follow him. There is silence and a pause that Mark captures so well in this event. He could not follow because he had great possessions. He leaves Jesus with sadness.
I found the follow excerpt from Fr. Roland J.Faley to help me understand how to relate this call to renunciation and to follow Jesus:
“Most Christians cannot walk away from everything tomorrow. But all of us are called to personal assessment. If God becomes our all, then we live more simply, asks more questions about accruing possessions, and are more conscious of the needy. It is not a question of surrendering things. That just creates a vacuum. It is because we have a spiritual treasure already in our heart that there is not just room for much more. So the question remains. What stands between us and God? What blocks our path? Like Solomon we pray for wisdom –the wisdom to know the answer.” (Footprints on the Mount, page 662)
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.