Tuesday, October 13, 2009

time is on our side

Mark 10:17-31

Our celebrant Sunday was all over the place with his thoughts on the Gospel... maybe because it was one of those "hard teachings", the ones where Jesus tells us something we really don't want to hear. Sunday's Gospel was the one about the rich young man who wanted to know how to inherit eternal life. We've probably all heard it a million times: first, the man is reprimanded for calling Jesus good, then he says he'd already kept all the ten commandments. But then there's something like an aside: it says next that Jesus loved him.

We don't know why he loved him, but apparently there was something... some spark, some gesture, a look... and then Jesus said the worst thing the guy could have heard: Go sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor. And the fellow went away grieving because he was very rich.

Grieving. He didn't go away mad. That's telling, don't you think? Usually when I hear something I don't like, my reaction is to take offense. Who do you think you are to tell me what to do with my money, my life? And our celebrant seemed to think that was significant as well.

"Time is on our side," he said. Because there will be other opportunities. In elementary school it's called a do-over, and I've had enough of them in my life to agree. I quit college in my third year. But when I was thirty I went back to school and did it over and graduated. I mustered out of the Navy three months before I was eligible to sew on my third class crow. But six years later I joined the reserves, took the test again, passed again, and was able to eventually rise to the rank of second class petty officer. Do overs. They are everywhere.

We don't know what that young man did after he grieved. He may have thought about it and figured Jesus was on to something. Maybe not. The Bible leaves us hanging... but time was on his side.

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