Monday, May 28, 2012

Mark 10:17-27 Jesus and the Rich Man

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,
"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
"You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
"How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
"Children, 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 one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
"Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God."

In this passage, we see that it is not enough to follow the commandments. Love of God begins with total surrender. Poverty is essential to this surrender because it is in poverty that we make ourselves available to God's grace. It is no longer in our material goods that we find comfort but in God's grace. This is why poverty is essential when religious institutions become too powerful. Poverty purifies ourselves and reminds us of first principles.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

John 15:9-7 What a friend we have in Jesus: Jesus calls us to Love and Friendship

Jesus said to his disciples:
"As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father's commandments
and remain in his love.

"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another."

In this passage Jesus reminds us that love and friendship are the corner stones of the Kingdom of God. Jesus relates to us not as lord, king, or ruler, rather he relates to us in an intimate way. He relates to us as a friend. Friends are close, trust worthy, someone we can go to when we are in trouble. We are also being called to love one another. When we love, we are loved. When we love, we share our gifts with the world. Love inspires love. Love is the only way to usher in the Kingdom of God.