1Pt 1:3-9; Ps 111:1-10; Mk10:17-27
“Holy and awesome is his name!”
The Liturgy is making a major transition, and it is taking its time. We have begun the season of the year, AKA ordinary time, but we linger in the glory of the Paschal Mystery just fulfilled in the Pentecost Event. We take up the reading of Saint Peter’s letter to the early church in which he unfolds the mystery of Baptism. We join with the earliest believers to proclaim Psalm 111 that the Name of the LORD is holy and awesome! Indeed our lives are filled with thanks and praise in the company and assembly of the just. The works of the LORD are great and exquisite in their delights. These signs and wonders unfold in the mystery of Christ alive and well in our daily life. The Lord Jesus feeds us as we gather at liturgy to be ever mindful of his covenant. He has made known to us the power of his works by giving us the inheritance of the nations. Indeed, the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus has delivered us by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He has ratified his covenant forever by bringing us into the mystery of the cross and the glory of the resurrection. Indeed, with all our brothers and sisters throughout the world this day we praise the Holy and Awesome Name of the LORD! Indeed, nothing is impossible for God, Our Father, and we are the living sign of such love as we follow Christ unreservedly and without hesitation.
Many scripture scholars identify this letter of Saint Peter as a prolonged homily and instruction on the celebration of Baptism. The Liturgy reflects this awareness in having us read and meditate on this text just after our celebration of the Paschal Mysteries in which everyone renewed the commitment made at Baptism. Indeed, the great mercy of Our Father in the Lord Jesus Christ has been manifest in the new birth we have to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead. This inheritance of future glory is kept safe through faith. This ultimate salvation is already glimpsed in the fellowship of the Body of Christ in which we hear the Word proclaimed and celebrate the sacraments. However, the future glory made present in community and in liturgy takes place within the context of various trials, so that the fire may test the genuineness of our faith. Baptism is not removal of the mystery of suffering from human life, but it is the gift of strength and purpose in the midst of life. Indeed, we become more and more united to the Lord Jesus when we embrace the cross in our daily life. In the Gospel the Lord looks with love upon the man seeking wisdom. In the first reading Saint Peter reminds us, “Although you have not seen him you love him.” This love comes from the glimpse of faith, by which our sense of sight is expanded by the divine light so that we may rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy as we attain the goal of faith, the salvation of our souls.
The Lord Jesus challenges the man who approaches him seeking wisdom. He also challenges those who follow him in the crowd. Both the honest searcher and the faithful disciples are summoned to the wisdom of the Cross. The Lord Jesus has revealed in his cross and resurrection that the only way to wisdom is to live a simple life. This radical simplicity seems impossible to the man who asked Jesus: “what must I do?” Although he is weighed down with many possessions, Jesus looks on him with love. The Lord Jesus admires this honest searcher. This is the kind of integrity and enthusiasm with which so many seek refuge in modern day cults; indeed, they seek meaning and purpose in life. These searching brothers and sisters look for a way to give self, to offer a sacrifice of themselves completely. They long for a way of life that make demands and challenges them to live—to live abundantly! Sometimes the church and its members settle for mediocrity; sometimes we try to domesticate the Spirit who has just come upon us as wind and fire. What more does Jesus have to offer once we live by the wisdom of the commandments? Everything! If we are willing to sacrifice everything for the Kingdom of God then we will have everything in Christ. Growing wealthy and giving help to those in need is not enough to satisfy the deepest longing of the human heart. For us and by ourselves it is impossible to satisfy the deepest yearning within, but such fulfillment is not impossible for God. As the Lord Jesus proclaims, “All things are possible for God.” We share now in the seemingly impossible self-gift of Christ; we share in his body, blood, soul and divinity. It is this seemingly impossible union that enables us to pass through the eye of a needle.