A Thursday Reflection 8.24.17

I really think this woman hit a “home run” with her theologically splendid  and faith filled reflection. – Fr. Joe

Keeping Score

By Deborah Boston

                              “But many that are first will be last, and the last, first”.

My daughter starts second grade in a few weeks, and I have many hopes for her — creative writing, long division, chapter books, and new best friends. My own shining memory from second grade is winning “Around the World,” a competitive flash card game of math, in which I challenged every member of my class, individually, to addition and subtraction facts. It felt pretty amazing to win. I was unquestionably the best: I was in first place! Can you tell I have a hard time with today’s gospel? In the kingdom of God, math facts don’t matter. First place matters even less.

The real advice I can give my daughter this fall is not to worry about keeping score. Her worth comes from God’s love, not from her own striving. Does God love me because I can recite math facts? No. He loves me in spite of my desire to keep score. The gospel lesson reminds me that the priorities of this fallen world are at odds with the priorities of God. Give up all your possessions, all your idols, even your first-place medals, and follow him.

Mark 10:17-31

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” 20He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”