May 23, 2016
ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD: a reflection on Mark 10:17-27
Today’s young man in the Gospel was quite the person, wasn’t he?! Something tugged at his heart to go beyond, to go deeper. And so he approached this holy man that he had been hearing so much about and inquired of him what he should do now. Jesus certainly recognized the devotion and cast his gaze of love upon him. What the young man didn’t realize was that when Jesus looked, his gaze went all the way down. Deep down into the essence of this person he had created and in whom he had placed so much good and for whom he wanted so much good. The young man soon found out that love, given and received, can reach deep down to the bedrock of our being and because it IS love and desires only the good, can ask a lot. And sometimes cost a lot. Jesus loved this young man and took him at his word: What must I do? He saw clearly that the young man was possessed by his possessions and invited him into an area within himself where it would cost deeply to let go but would also usher him into freedom and true discipleship in a relationship of love. But this letting go was a direction that he never expected Jesus to take when he asked the question and he wasn’t prepared for it. Instead, he is asked to do the one thing that would ask everything of him at that point in his life. It was bit much and he was like a deer in the headlights. Stunned, frozen to the spot. He just wasn’t prepared for this. So he went away – and went away sad. His heart must have been aching, since he, who was so good in his observance of the commandments and in his eyes perhaps, everything else, just couldn’t bring himself to accept this invitation to look squarely at himself in the one thing that was holding him back, and let go. Did he think he was a disappointment to Jesus? He must surely have been a disappointment to himself.
What a precious and sacred place for him to be! In the moment, it doesn’t feel anything like precious and not even remotely sacred. Yet in the gaze of love from Jesus and the care that sought to free him from the one thing, and according to the Lord, the one thing only, that he lacked, he went away sad. I think we can all relate to times when God asked us for something and we just couldn’t muster a yes. Or we just couldn’t admit that we needed to grow, to let God’s transforming love in. Self-knowledge is no cake walk! But we can see from today’s Gospel how necessary it is, once we’ve embarked on the journey to God. It’s not reached by our digging around inside ourselves trying to figure out what needs changing. We humans are not very good at that. God knows us and holds all the hurting, broken and “impossible” places in us. The places where we lack. And he provides in our lives the circumstances and people that shed light on these places to which we are blind and have no inkling that they exist. They meet us in the daily circumstances of our day and stare us in the face, begging for acknowledgement and transformation. Sometimes we, too, can feel like a deer in the headlights, with an impossible invitation from the Lord to go deeper. We can think this transformation, this letting go is impossible, but remember Jesus’ message: not for God. This is where God’s power is made perfect in weakness. Maybe the greatest mercy of all in these situations is to be made aware of the mercy of which we stand in need. To accept those “impossibles,” these many lacks in ourselves where the only way out is through – through and carried by mercy. We all have “impossibles” deep within us and they are one of our greatest treasures. When, in God’s tender love, it is time for us to come face to face with another part of ourselves that, as the saying goes, we would just as soon let a sleeping dog lie, we have the opportunity to yield to the mercy and love of God. What a glorious moment to live in the truth that makes us free: nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Not “impossibles,” not anything. We can rejoice in God’s saving mercy and walk in the freedom of a child of God, loved and loving.