Last Sunday we heard in the Gospel how difficult it is for a rich person to get into heaven. The burden of possessions weighs heavily.
The young man proclaimed himself to be a ‘good person’ but could not bring himself to face the truth Jesus called him into living as his disciple. For the young man, giving up his worldly possessions was more than he was willing to sacrifice for the kingdom of God.
It was more than material possessions Jesus was calling the young man to sacrifice. He challenged him to change his whole way of life; his whole world view. Jesus called him look at the poor and the whole world in a radical new way. Behind the young man’s sad face was his fear of changing his heart; of sacrificing his long held understandings of this world.
The Lord said:
“I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36: 25-26
Jesus called the young man away from himself. He called him to seek fulfillment in service to ‘the other’. To see ‘the other’ with the love of God; taking responsibility for their well-being, their justice and their peace.
Jesus, in today’s Gospel, calls James and John away from seeking glory for themselves into seeking fulfillment in a life of service to ‘the other’. James and John sought to possess Jesus in a material way; riding on his coat-tails into positions of power and honor.
But Jesus calls them away from themselves. He calls them into a radical new way of looking at the world. He tells all the disciples that those who serve others are true leaders. They, who give up their lives in service to the needs of ‘the other’, are the ones who gain true glory in the eyes of God. They shall receive their reward in the love of God; becoming inheritors of His eternal kingdom.
Jesus calls his disciples into a life of sacrifice. But this sacrifice is not one of loss, as the world thinks of sacrifice. It is a sacrifice of love, of joy and of fulfillment found in the embrace of God.
Those who serve the least of His children find their reward not in the material things of this world: which decay and do not last; but receive the reward in the ever-lasting glory of God and the peace of His heavenly kingdom. ~Amen