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True Discipleship

 

 Today’s Gospel is a story of discipleship. We are told that love of material possessions and comforts, is one of the chief obstacles in the way of discipleship. The Jews believed that the prosperity of the rich was a sign of God’s blessing. But Jesus presents wealth as a stumbling block to the kingdom. Those who rely on themselves and their possessions cannot be saved.

Salvation is always God’s achievement, not humankind’s. However, it is not the giving up of our wealth, but the life of discipleship that leads to eternal life. When Jesus says, “Sell what you have...” he doesn’t mean that a disciple must be destitute. The life of the poor, with its hardship and suffering, is not set forth in Mark’s Gospel as an ideal for the Christian disciple. But neither is the desire for possessions and the accumulation of wealth. Jesus demands the best of us as he did of the young man in today’s Gospel. He will not allow us to settle for anything less. The challenge – if you wish to be perfect – is issued to us too. However, what we might be called upon to do, in order to live a true life of discipleship, could vary for each of us. We have to look into our own hearts, to see what it is that we would have to change in our lives, in order to respond to this challenge. Some people are unwilling to let go of a single one of their old values in order to acquire a new one. If we fear to lose the pleasures of this world, we will never taste the joys of the new!

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