28th Sunday Ordinary Time—Soteriology


What must I do to inherit eternal life?

I find it intriguing that Marks Gospel was most likely written somewhere around the year 50AD….and here it is 2018 and I find myself and many others, maybe even you, still asking the same question of our God:

What must I do to inherit eternal life?

It is somehow like we didn’t believe the answer that Jesus gave to the Rich Young man in the Gospel story.

Or it is somehow tied to how our Catholic Faith experience has taught us that somehow we missed something.  And not only that, but some how it kind of became enthroned in our bones…so much so we often laugh at “Good Old Catholic Guilt”.

Please allow me the opportunity to remind myself and all of us….there is nothing that “we” can do to inherit eternal life…..

That inheritance has been given by Christ…..

We can’t do, buy, sell, or perform anything in our lives to inherit eternal life….

I am sorry to say, even though you and I have probably all done multiple novenas, and all kinds of spiritual exercises in the hope of assuring our place in eternal life, there is nothing that we can do….it has already been done for us.

Our ego will not get us entrance into the Kingdom of God…

Jesus did that….by his life, passion, death and resurrection…

Many scripture scholars have said that may be one reason the Rich Young Man in the Gospel story today left “crestfallen”…..not because he could not go and sell his stuff and give it to the poor….he could…but some scholars say he may have left “crestfallen” because he was confronted with the reality that “he couldn’t do anything”

You see if “we” can do something to inherit eternal life, then there was no reason for birth of Jesus Christ.

Salvation is God’s gift, not our doing!

The challenge of the Gospel is not to go and live our lives differently so that we are granted the inheritance of eternal life…..

the challenge of the Gospel is to live our lives in such a way that we are a witness to the gratitude that comes from knowing we have been given the greatest gift possible.

How come Jesus says it is hard for the “rich” to enter the Kingdom of God?

It has nothing to do with wealth as most of us as 21st century western culture folks would think after reading or hearing this text.

It has everything to do with us realizing that God’s love for us is not under our control.

If you notice in this Gospel….Jesus doesn’t say, that the sale of the Rich Young Man’s possessions and the subsequent giving of those proceeds to the poor are the things that will assure him of his ability to “inherit eternal life” but rather Jesus says “and you will have treasure in heaven”

Salvation my friends is not our action….salvation is God’s action.

So what do we walk away with today from this?

I wonder if it isn’t the challenge to see what it may be in our lives that is keeping us from really knowing that we are loved by God?

I wonder if it isn’t the challenge to look at our lives and see how often and in how many ways we continue to “play God” and make believe that we are in control of our eternal destiny.

I wonder if we don’t walk away tonight and ask ourselves some really deep questions about how we understand God.

I wonder if we don’t walk away tonight, with a big smile, a heart overflowing with gratitude and a commitment to share with everyone around us the joy of knowing that each and every person is loved by our amazing God.

Maybe this will help…..lets put the Gospel into our lived experience….

Allow me to summarize this pericope…this story

Person: Jesus what must I do to inherit eternal life.

Jesus: Done

Person: What?

Jesus: I said done!

Then Jesus, looking at person with love says:  Now my turn…How will others know you have just received the greatest gift ever possible?