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Selling all for the Kingdom

Selling all for the Kingdom

October 10, 2021

Chapter Talk – 28th Sunday of the Year – October 10, 2021 – cycle-B

Within the ‘love command’ of God there is a ‘demand’…the demand is to ‘sell all’. This ‘demand’ to sell all is not easy…still ‘with God all things are possible’. It seems that ‘virtue’ is not enough, that is the virtuous living of the ten commandments. Why would God ask something extra, beyond keeping these commandments? These commandments are rooted in, not separated from, the great commandment of love: of God, self and neighbor. Do we perhaps forget the love command that is stamped upon our hearts?

The extra to ‘sell all’ involves ‘letting go’, surrendering all for God and the life of the kingdom of God. Any time we ‘let go’ of something, space, silent, fertile space is created for God to act. ‘Letting go’ is not some heavy and depressing Christian thing that we must do. Granted we may have resistance to surrendering in the moment. However, letting go creates a true sense of self, unburdened of all that pulls us away from this ‘love’ demand. Once we experience God’s love, the demand inherent in this gift is something we want to respond to because we have experienced God’s love for us from inside, and it has changed us. Motivated by love, we happily ‘sell all’ again and again as each new situation warrants it, whether that be from within or without.

In this Sunday’s gospel, the young man desires ‘life’, fullness of life, eternal life and he is asking Jesus what must he do to obtain it (Mk 10:17-27)….Jesus recites the commandments and the young man replies that he has ‘kept these since his youth’. In the encounter Jesus looks at the young man, loves him and within the context of this love relationship places the love demand before him: ‘go and sell what you have and come follow me’. In Sr. Barbara Reid’s words “Jesus invites the rich man to step across a threshold…” (Give Us This Day, October 2021, p.113). What does it mean ‘to step across a threshold’? We leave behind what was and are open for what is to come…something new and something more is being asked…and we with the disciples may ask the same of Jesus as they did: ‘hey we already have left everything and followed you…do you mean we will not receive anything, any reward for what we have done? “Abandoning all for the sake of love…” (p.113). There is a reversal of thinking here: ‘God’s thoughts are not human’s thoughts’ we hear from the prophet Isaiah (55:8). Human thinking is that we expect something back for what we have done. But love, God’s love does not operate or manifest in this manner. We want to abandon all because we have experienced being loved by God. And this love of God that we have experienced becomes the source of our love, opening the heart to surrender again and again.

The One who is the fullness of God’s love looks at each of us with love right now. And in this encounter of love, we are being asked to step across the threshold and surrender whatever is restricting the heart from loving more, from giving more back to God for the ongoing life of the kingdom. To quote Albert Schweizer: “The call of the kingdom is always a matter of total commitment. It involves a divine call which gives while it demands” (The Gospel According to Mark, p.213). The ‘divine call’ gives unconditional love and within the gift is the ‘demand’. Jesus gave ALL motivated by the love relationship with his Abba. Selling all: giving the gift of self is a process. Living into it is the daily surrender, the daily selling all of our ‘riches’ (we all have them) for the growing life and love of God here in this monastery and beyond into our world.

Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess

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