29th Sunday Ordinary Time -Where Does this Path Lead?
The Path Jesus prescribes leads to total love of God and love of neighbor. Witness:
Mark 12:28–31 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul / life (psyche), and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
What stands out to me now is the basic discrepancy of our time in terms of seeking a spiritual path. On the one hand, I do want to be at peace, to be mindful, to be at rest, to be quiet within myself. I believe I cannot move forward without that. And that’s probably true to some degree.
What’s interesting in this passage from Mark is that Jesus directs the scribe outward toward God and others. I say, “What about me!!! Hello! I am empty. I need some solace before I can love God and others that much!”
Now I find myself in tension between my emptiness and this Overflowing Love Jesus points toward. Perhaps, sitting in that tension with our emptiness and considering this call for kenotic love, total outpouring love would be fruitful. Look how Mark describes Jesus’ own experience:
Mark 10:42 So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Mark 14:32–34 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, “I am [my soul is] deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.”
Perhaps Mark locates all of us in Gethsemane, praying with Jesus in agony, asking that God rule out the Cup he’s been given.