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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Inheriting the Kingdom


“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” (Mark 10:17-22).

A rich man approached Jesus seeking to inherit the kingdom and spend eternity with God. However, Jesus’ answer shocked him into realizing that discipleship comes at a greater cost than he realized.

Jesus invites this man, and us, to focus less on following the rules, and more on getting rid of whatever gets in the way of our relationship with God and others. Mark shares with us a sad example of someone who can’t accept that Jesus’ mission is about a different way of life, and so walks away. Jesus wants our desire for discipleship to be a free commitment of our whole selves.

If we feel sad for the man in the story, it could be because we empathize so much with his response. It is difficult to admit that some of our possessions can compete with our call to follow Christ. Sometimes our possessions own us rather than we owning our possessions.

Jesus makes it clear that all the status and possessions in the world do not determine one’s place in the kingdom of heaven. Despite our efforts to live “good Christian lives,” we sometimes become enslaved to unessential possessions or actions—such as having the latest smartphone or a daily cup of expensive coffee.

All we hear is “buy, buy, buy” in our consumer culture. We need to create space in our hearts and lives to pay more attention to God, not to our possessions.

Which of your possessions compete with your call to follow Christ? In what way do your possessions interfere with your relationship with God and others?

Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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