We have the teachings given us by Jesus: Through Isaiah that God always loves us and wants us to come to Him; through the Letter to the Hebrews that God in Jesus carries us with Him and helps the ignorant and those who go astray, which means that God in Jesus is loving us right now; and through today’s Gospel that we must keep crying out to the Lord and insisting that the Lord hear us.
What a God of love we have. He is always seeking us, always helping us and always inviting us to keep calling out to Him. He will come to save us!
The Gospel from Saint Mark gives us two teachings. One is about wanting spiritual gifts. Jesus is clear that we can have spiritual gifts. What our role in the final Kingdom of Heaven will be is already prepared. Our role is to do the Father’s will in this life and to trust that what the Father gives us in heaven will be completely wonderful and beyond anything that we can imagine.
Probably many of us never think about our role in heaven or what we will do there. The challenge is simply to love God in this life and leave the future to the Lord. If we follow the Lord Jesus, we will surely suffer. Yet at the same time we will share more intimately in His life. In the life to come, we will not be jealous or even want to be anything other than we are. We will be loved beyond all that we can imagine.
So let us be servants to one another, seeking only to love one another and to do what will benefit the other. Let us walk with Jesus and accept the sufferings that must come if we are truly loving others.
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The Gospel today, from Saint Mark, tells the story of a very good young man who wants to follow Jesus and who has been deeply faithful to the teachings of God in his Jewish faith. Yes when Jesus asks the young man to give up all his wealth and come and follow HIM, then the young man goes away sad. What a strong teaching. God is always asking things of each of us.
In so many ways, we are like the rich young man: good and not yet totally committed. We don’t know what the young man did later on. Perhaps he ended up selling everything and giving it to the poor and following Jesus. But his first response was only sadness.
The story of the ten lepers is a testimony to the healing power of Jesus Christ. But it’s more than that. It’s a witness of gratitude from a condemned man who was brought from death to life.
This is what sets the story of the ten lepers apart from all the other healing stories of the New Testament, for of all those Jesus healed and raised from the dead, only this poor leper came back to say thank you. In this way, he serves as a paradigm for how we ought to live each day in gratitude for God’s redeeming love.
The leper was an outsider, someone whom society had made an outcast, yet he had the courage to make himself seen and go and say thankyou.
We are not outcasts and yet perhaps we forget to say thankyou. We can be quick to point out a fault, but how often do we go and thank someone for what they have done?
ALL SAINTS CHURCH
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