"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

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Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 143
Mk 10:17-30

“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”Notice the word in both the young mans question and in his reply, it is the smallest word in the sentence. It is the word “I.”What must “I “do , and,” I “have observed (or I have done.) It seems that from this young mans perspective inheriting eternal life, or entering the  kingdom of God is all about achieving something through his effort alone. In his mindset entering the kingdom is akin to kicking down the door. Could it be Jesus is trying to get him to change his approach?  There are after all two approaches to entering the kingdom, his kicking down the door and allowing the door to be opened for him. Kicking down the door is his action and allowing the door to be opened is surrendering to Gods action. In the mans devotion to the commandments, and in his desire, he was on the right path as were so many devout of the day. Desire for the kingdom, for eternal life, is a necessity. So too is the effort that is striving for the kingdom, that journey towards eternal life. Without surrendering to the King though, entry is impossible. The door to the kingdom will not be opened without it.But what is surrendering ? Surrendering is no more, and no less than obedience. It is realizing who is in charge, and who makes the rules. It is realizing that no matter how much “I “do, there are certain things I can not do.It is also realizing that things “I” think absolutely can not be done, can be done through God.[Note also the mans demeanor when he is told that must give away all of his possessions, he is sad.In what he possesses he is tied to, and in being tied to them he can not achieve, or see, something greater. Possessions is an interesting word. Demons posses many people Jesus encounters, and  Jesus heals many people who are possessed by demons. Can the mans possessions be viewed as a demon?Also, do possessions need only be material objects? Can a possession also be a belief,a thought, an attitude, a mindset? Finally, are all possessions bad?If he was to give all he had to the poor, might much of what he had been good? What was his desire. It was the desire to obtain”eternal life”, to enter into “the Kingdom of God.”]

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