Question and Answer. Looking and Loving. Giving and Following.
We, human beings ask questions for many reasons: to know more about something, to satisfy our curiosity on certain matters, or to clarify the points shared or given by somebody. When we ask, we expect answers to be given to us by those we have asked those questions to. At times answers are given directly and immediately. There are certain occasions also wherein the one we asked takes time to give us the answers/responses to our questions. Yet when we ask, we also wait for the answer. Nowadays these questions may arise from many of us: When will this pandemic end? What will happen to our future? Where will I get resources for my family? Will I be able to graduate? Will I be able to find a stable work or stay longer in my present work? Is he/she the one for me? How can I live without you? What direction will I take in life? And many more… Reflecting on these questions, we say to ourselves, “I need answers to these questions,” but when?
Today’s Gospel taken from Mark 10:17-30 is full of questions too. We are presented with these following characters: Jesus and His disciples, a rich young man, and lastly, Peter who said something towards the end. The rich young man started the discourse by asking a question: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” This question of the rich young man was answered by Jesus, reminding him of the Commandments: “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.” The Lord immediately and directly answered the rich young man’s question, yet He wanted more when he said, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” With this statement, the Lord Jesus, looked at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” Despite the questioning and the response of the rich young man, Jesus looked at him and loved him. The man was challenged by the Lord to go beyond what he was doing by leaving behind those that kept him distant from God and his fellow men and women, what he had, what he possessed. Later in the Gospel, Peter asked Jesus a question after the discourse on the difficulty in entering the kingdom of God for those who had many possessions by saying, “Then who can be saved?” Another question was given to Jesus which He directly answered to by saying, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
Question and answer. Looking and loving. Giving and Following. These are the action words that we can take away from today’s Gospel. It shows a certain relationship between the characters: Jesus and the rich young man, and the rest of the disciples with Peter. In life we may have lots of questions that need answers. Yet in many occasions, these answers can come indirectly through an event, a person, through something that we have read. The Lord continues to speak to us, and answers our questions in many different ways. Once there was a young man who said these in his prayer, “Lord, where are you in the most difficult moments of my life?” After his prayer moment, he went out from his house and looked at the beautiful view of the sunrise, the sound of the birds, and the inviting smell of the food cooked by his mom. Then he realized, “God is here with me all along, through the beauty that I see around, the reality that I am alive, and that I can enjoy what life offers me every day.” He ended by saying a prayer of thanks to God.
Looking and loving. Giving and following. In our life’s journey, we encounter many unfortunate events that happen either to us or to others. We are invited to go back at those moments in our life where we feel loved and supported by our family, friends, and by God Himself. For us priests and religious, we start each day with moments of silent prayer or meditation. It is in those precious moments where we recall how the Lord had been good to us, how He has forgiven us despite our sinfulness, and how He loves us. As Jesus looked at and loved the rich young man, He too looks at us today, and loves us. But it will not end there, He will give Himself to us especially in Holy Communion. His look and love, is put into action by the giving of Himself to us. When the priest later on utters the words of the Lord during the Last Supper, “Take this all of you and eat of it…Take this all of you and drink from it…which will be given up for you.” What happened to Jesus and the rich young man, takes place once again here in the Eucharist. Before we end the Mass, we are all told to “go in peace” or “go and announce the Gospel of the Lord” or “go in peace glorifying the Lord by your lives.” These are words that tell us to follow Jesus and bring Him to our families, to our communities, to our work places, to our society, to wherever we go. We are to look at our brothers and sisters, and love them as Jesus did. We give of ourselves to them in charity and service. The greatest compliment that we can hear as Catholic Christians, as followers of the Lord should be, “nakita nako ang Ginoo diha nimo” (I see God in you).
Question and answer. Looking and loving. Giving and following. Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate this Holy Mass, we may still have many questions that need answers, yet we trust that in His time, these will be given answers in many ways. Let us be aware of His loving presence in us, for all things are possible for God.”
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