Today’s Gospel is one tough message. It’s not enough to just follow the Commandments. Jesus wants us to sell what we have and give it to the poor to enter heaven. He tells the apostles “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
It’s a tough message because how do we reconcile it with our striving for success – a good job, a nice salary, a better life for our children? We think how is that possible? How can I do that? Jesus knows it’s a tough message; he certainly gets feedback from the apostles who are astonished and mutter among themselves: “Then who can be saved?”
This message is about the spirit of the Gospel, not just the letter of the law. We are to love others as ourselves. That means doing what we can and perhaps more than we think we can for others. Jesus tells the apostles that it may be impossible for man, but with God all things are possible. We have to try, to take that first step in doing what we can for others. My favorite part of this Gospel comes right before Jesus delivers that tough message to the man seeking the way to the kingdom of heaven. Mark tells us that Jesus looked at the man, loved him and then said sell what you have.
We are loved in our imperfections, but we can’t stop there. We have to strive to become men and women for others, to make that the center of our lives, not the striving for material success.
By Carol Zeugner