28th Sunday Ordinary Time – What do you give the Man Who Has Everything? Nothingness…

Kidding me?

“One thing you lack. Go, sell what you have and give to the poor and then follow me.” Are you out of your mind!!!!!

Let’s look into LACK. The Greek, hustereo, can be translated, “to want, to be in need, to tarry or lag behind.”

LACK: Jesus makes a connection between trusting God totally and our inner poverty, our fundamental insufficiency to really control anything or anyone. We cannot insure or ensure our future. Yikes!

Psalm 23:1–4             The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

Nehemiah 9:20–22            You gave your good spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness so that they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. And you gave them kingdoms and peoples, and allotted to them every corner, so they took possession of the land of King Sihon of Heshbon and the land of King Og of Bashan.

LACK relates also to Wisdom herself. She teaches her disciples to see into our frantic work for security, our distracted and relentless search for esteem, and compulsive filling of our painful emptiness. Vanity! It’s easy to say, but a heck of a challenge to welcome.

Here is where LACK and the joyful embrace of emptiness, nothingness, meet in an adult spirituality appropriate for our times. 

Ecclesiastes 6:1–3             There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon humankind: those to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that they lack nothing of all that they desire, yet God does not enable them to enjoy these things, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous ill.  

Sirach 11:11f             There are those who work and struggle and hurry, but are so much the more in want. There are others who are slow and need help, who lack strength and abound in poverty; but the eyes of the Lord look kindly upon them; he lifts them out of their lowly condition

Sirach 13:4             A rich person will exploit you if you can be of use to him, but if you are in need he will abandon you.

LACK has to do with waiting for fulfillment without in the midst of thousands of demands for certainty. It points us toward embracing uncertainty, which is what we get when we sell all and give it away.

Habakkuk 2:1–3             I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.

How does Jesus’ offer of LACK to the rich man a gift?

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