Sunday, October 14.Lectionary 28.21st Sunday after Pentecost. Mark 10:17-3120He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Dear disciples of Jesus: Grace and Peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Jesus calls us to follow him and we are disciples when we follow the call.It is very interesting to see how the rich man was introduced into the story. The gospel says: he ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”His haste and submission suggest his earnestness to become a disciple.18Jesus said to him, 9You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; Honor your father and mother…’ ” 20He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” In terms of the law, the rich man believed he fulfilled all the commandments.21Jesus, looking at him, loved him.
This text shows the contrast of two forms of love and how we do react when we express and receive love.The first love is Jesus´ love for the rich man. He loved him the way God loves us. He looked at him the way God does. He loved him not because he was rich but because he was looking for the kingdom and trying to get in it.21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” What amazing statement of love! Jesus loved him not because he was rich! Jesus was demanding that he take all his possessions, sell them and give the money to the poor. Jesus states: I don’t need them, I don’t love you for your possessions, I love you because I love with the love of God and you are asking to experience God´s love and to live God´s love.Jesus is saying to rich man: “you don’t need to be rich to receive my love, you can be poor, you can be like me, a poor preacher from Galilee that renounced his divine glory and chose a simple way of living, you can give all to the poor and maintain my love.” My love, says Jesus, is not conditioned by the fact that you have lots of possessions. Jesus doesn’t love our possessions, he does need our possessions, he wants us to use our possessions to serve the poor and help the one in need. He invited the rich man and is inviting us to use our possessions to preach, teach, proclaim and manifest the love of God.Then we find the second love, the love of the rich man. The gospel says that after receiving Jesus´ love and invitation to live his love in a life of discipleship…the rich man was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
What happened? He was so excited with the idea of becoming a disciple of Jesus that he ran up and knelt before Jesus asking him. He received the word and the love of Jesus. But he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. When he was confronted with the idea of having a life of discipleship that implies first and above all to live having no more treasure than the love of Jesus, the love of the rich man for his many possessions was bigger than his love for the kingdom and the promise of eternal life.The rich man did not understand that the love of Jesus was the real treasure that he needed to be authentically rich. He could not believe that divine love requires an answer of love too.
God loves us to the point of dying on the cross for us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Eternal life. That was exactly what the rich man was looking for. And Jesus told Nicodemus that we have eternal life when we believe in him. We have eternal life because Jesus died for us, we have eternal life because he is living for us, and we have eternal life because he will come back for us! We have eternal life because he loved us. Now, what do we do with this love? How do we answer Jesus ‘love for us. Can we live in a way that everything, all that we have, all that we know, all that we love is not so valuable like the treasure of Jesus’ love?
In the words of the Songs of Songs 8, 7:
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.
This is the cost of discipleship, the capacity to believe that all the wealth of one´s house is nothing if we don’t have the love of Jesus filling our house, our being, our dreams and our hope. Those who know Jesus follow Him. Those who don’t know Him do their own thing. It’s natural to do our own thing. It is supernatural to follow Jesus. So are we flowing in the supernatural power of God, or just doing what we do because you don’t know any better?
Jesus told his disciples after the rich man refused to be one of them: 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
You see, it is supernatural to follow Jesus, it’s a miracle, it is to live daily in the miracle of the power of love. When we give everything -all what we have, all that we hope and what we are -at the cross and receive the love of Jesus, then the miracle happens, then our heart is touched by God´s love, suddenly we are in love with Jesus and we want to answer Jesus’ love with our love.
We enter in a loving relationship where we are happy to give, to share, to use our gifts, our knowledge, our time, our energy and our passion to answer to the love of Jesus with our love and gratitude. A good life is a life that embraces love, enjoys love and shares love. This is the great miracle and the great adventure. When you are in love, you do crazy things. What a holy crazy thing is to follow Jesus! but what a wonderful adventure! what incredible miracle! what a love story! He looks at you, and he loves you.