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The Bulletin Insert Sunday 11th October,2015 Pentecost 20B The Power of Possessions

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert       Sunday 11th October 2015

The Power of Possessions

“But many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first.” [10:31]

The rich young ruler in this week’s Gospel passage yearned to be perfect. When he saw Jesus, he wanted to be like him. Our Lord never makes personal holiness a condition when he calls a disciple. Rather, he demands absolute annihilation of our right to self and identification with himself. The conditions for discipleship in Luke 14:26 have nothing to do with justification or sanctification, but with unconditional identification with Christ. Few of us know the absolute release of abandonment to Jesus.

“Then Jesus looked at him, loved him and said…” [10:21a] The gaze of Jesus will mean a heart broken forever from allegiance to any other person or thing. Have you known his gaze? The look of Jesus is never forgotten; it transfixes and transforms. And hardness becomes soft. If we are ‘hard-hearted’ or vindictive, insistent on our own way, always certain that others are in the wrong, it’s a sure sign that we have not been transformed by his gaze. “…You still lack one thing….” [10:21b] The only good thing from Christ’s perspective is union with himself with nothing in between.

“Go, sell all that you own…” [10:21b] Jesus does not ask that we renounce our material possessions to prove our love for God. Rather it’s the attachment to worldly things – our comforts, ways of seeing things, doing and being. We must reduce ourselves until we cease to be under their control. Only then are we able to travel lightly as we accept his invitation: “Come! Follow me!” And the road is where he beckons us.

 

 

Amos 5: 6-7,10-15

6 Seek the Lord and live, or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire, and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it. 7 Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground! 10 They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth. 11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins—you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. 13 Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time.

14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said. 15 Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

 

Hebrews 4:12-16

12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Mark 10: 17-31       The Rich Man

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ 20He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’

28 Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ 29Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’