As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother. Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It 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.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
For some 40 years, Paul Harvey hosted a popular segment on National Public Radio, “The Rest of the Story.” He would select a well-known person, event or situation, describing and narrating a little known or forgotten fact which ultimately highlighted a key and surprising element about the whole story. The narrative of the rich young man in today’s Gospel passage offers an opportunity to ponder the “rest of the story.”
It is easy to interpret a Gospel story solely from a contemporary historical lens. This can place a limitation and conclusion to the story, confining the meaning to the actual narrative. Ignatian imaginative prayer invites the reader to start with the actual narrative, rather than end with what has been written down.
Maybe the rich young man returns to Jesus as a disciple after some time of discernment, and indeed after selling and giving away his many possessions. Perhaps Jesus sees him again and calls him, and the young man is ready to follow Jesus. Maybe I would realize ways in which I needed time to ponder and discern a question or challenge from God. And perhaps I would realize and embrace with gratitude those times and ways when I really wanted needed to follow Jesus more than the particular thing(s) to which I cling.
In this way, the eternal nature of Sacred Scripture lives through the lens of our own lives, our own ongoing history. The Gospels were written to a community of an earlier age, but were also written for us, followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. We become, and are, “The Rest of the Story.”
As the day begins, let Jesus look into your eyes with love. Here is personal invitation to “Come, Follow Me” — whatever that might mean for you today.
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. is minister of the Loyola University Jesuit Community, Chicago, and also serves on the vocations staff for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus
On this Memorial Day
Grant peace to the souls
of all those soldiers who died in war.
We remember the tears and grief of their families,
The pain of mothers, wives, husbands and children
Who lost precious loved ones.
To build a meaningful memorial to them,
We ask God to give us all the will
To work for peace around the world
So no more sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, nor mothers
Are slaughtered by the guns and bombs of war.
We ask Mary, who held the lifeless body of her son
And was pierced by the sorrow of his suffering and death,
To grant us the compassion and wisdom to affirm life
And honor the dead through forgiveness and peace making.
May God have mercy on the souls of the departed.
Grant them peace, O Lord.
May we have mercy on the living.
Grant us peace, O Lord.
In Your name we pray.
— Education for Justice, www.educationforjustice.orgPlease share the Good Word with your friends!