Mark 10:17-31 – The 20th Sunday during Ordinary Time- for October 14, 2012

“…Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life…” (Mark 10:17)

Way way back in college, my roommate Bob and I headed over to a local theater for “The Exorcist.”

This was near the demise of eight-track stereo systems and before the transient dominance of cassette tapes. Large pizzas could be had for three bucks plus change. Nixon schemed in the Oval Office. The world-wide-web described the persistent spider in the ceiling of our rented apartment.

After Bob saw William Friedkin’s 1973 flick, he was scared s**tless. “Seeing” a little girl possessed by the devil rattled him. How scared? How rattled? Later, home from the movie, Bob had to do laundry (you can only put it off for so many months). But the laundry room in our apartment complex required a stroll along a narrow, poorly lighted sidewalk, maybe a hundred yards from our front door. Bob refused to venture into the night by himself. He begged me to accompany him; he lugging a duffle bag of dirty clothes, me alert for a girl with a rotating head.

Nowadays, in our digital world and information age, I’m frightened by a different kind of possession . . .

My possessions.

The writer of the Gospel of Mark, never one to embellish a story, told about a man who asked Jesus (Mark 10:17-31) a blunt question:  How can I inherit eternal life?

Since I am one to embellish stories, I wonder . . . what did he mean by “eternal life?”

Did our out-of-the-blue fellow desire a future seat at/near the right hand of God in heaven?

Was his “eternal life” query about personal contentment?

Had he spoken this way to conquer a fear of tomorrow’s inevitable death or to embrace a new path of life today?

Perhaps his request involved all three of the above. Or maybe you could suggest additional meanings for “eternal life?” Regardless, the man received Jesus’ equally blunt answer . . .

Give up your possessions to the poor!

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