Mark 10:17-30 or 10:17-27
"Jesus, looking at him, loved him" "and he went away sad." A moment of connection seemingly ending in sadness and defeat yet, in the context of this manʼs life, the story may have just begun. He was a man faithful to the laws. He recognized something he wanted in Jesus but he was not able to surrender what was asked of him. As in many gospels we are only given a glimpse into the moment of meeting Jesus. It is left to our own lives and imagination to finish the story. What became of this man whose heart was stirred bringing him to kneel at the feet of Jesus?
When kneeling in prayer or listening to the Word, how often have I found myself responding to Jesusʼ invitations with my own versions of "Not now, Lord," "Not that, Lord," "Next time, Lord," fighting the inner wrestlings and challenges of a deeper call to conversion to live the gospel more fully? On an innate level I know something is missing and yet the price seems too high.
I fear releasing anything material, emotional or spiritual that I cling to that seems to bring comfort and security because I am afraid it might leave me vulnerable to suffering and uncertainty. Yet doesnʼt our greatest suffering occur when we let our own self imposed boundaries separate us from the fullness of Godʼs mercy and love? I believe Jesus understands this tension.
The gospel invites us not to wait for those life shattering moments that ultimately bring us to our knees but rather to rise to the challenge of surrendering to the call from the comfort of our lives. This is difficult for us alone requiring profound courage and trust but as Jesus tells his disciples in todayʼs gospel, "All things are possible with God."
M. Walsh is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California, and friend of the Passionist community.