The Gospel reading for 04Feb16 was from Mark 10:17-27. If it's not already one of your favorite readings, perhaps this post will help to elevate it on your list.
The young man who comes to the Lord is filled with energy and zeal. Saint Mark records "he came running and knelt before the Lord." His heart is filled with the strong desire to learn, to hear, to adapt to that which will elevate him to the Kingdom! All of these are good things.
But then he speaks.
He asks Jesus, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" In the Gospel of Saint Matthew, the man asks, "What good THING...", implying that there must be a solution to finding acceptance before God that is simple to follow and understand - just "one" thing!
ERROR #1: Teacher? You come to Christ as "just" a teacher? It means that you do not (yet) recognize in Him His divinity, that He is the Son of God.
ERROR #2: One thing? You ask for simplicity?
The Lord, in His own way of "teaching" replies, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, and that is God!" In His answer, Jesus indeed implies to the young man, "Yes, I am 'good' because I am God, but you do not yet know this!"
Jesus responds by speaking the Law of Moses, the Commandments. Clearly, this is the 'recipe' for pleasing God, since these are the 'rules' given by God to His creatures as their 'rules for life'.
The young man responds to our Lord's teaching by saying, "All these things I have kept from my youth."
ERROR #3: You've not violated a single point of the Commandments? Then you are deluding yourself in the intent of the meaning of the Law! You ascribe to yourself righteousness. Look inside! If righteousness is there, why do you come to seek from Jesus an answer to "what is needed"?
And here next is the line that, if this is not yet on your "favorites" list should put it there. Saint Mark records, "Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him...." In this expression is a summation of God's choosing to become incarnate, of His saving action on the Cross, in the tomb, of His Resurrection and His Ascension!
Jesus looked at him. This is not a 'glance' that has the eyes of one seeing a blemish on the face, or a spot on clothes, or noticing the quality of shoes. This is a look that peers deep into the heart, to the very core of the being of the young man. This is the "look" that our Lord gives to the man. And in looking that intensely and deeply into the heart of the man, Saint Mark says, "(He) loved him."
The young man just committed a pile of errors before the Lord. He didn't recognize Him as God. He wanted some simple answer to his questions. He judged himself to be righteous, at least as the Law had been explained to him. Through all these errors, God the Son still loved him!
What does this say about us? We, too, have misconceptions about what God expects of us. We, too, misunderstand how it is that God intends for us to live. We, too, judge the things that we do that are counter to God's loving rules for life to be small, inconsequential. We believe that our sins are not worth carrying before God because "they are so small."
Point is - we, too, have so very many "errors" in our coming before the Lord. But through these, He has the ability and the heart to "look at us." He knows us. He created us. If He can find within us that same heart that desires to seek His will in our lives, then His love for us is also present.
The "prescription" that our Lord gave to the young man was to go and sell all he had, to give to the poor, and then "take up the cross, and follow Me." The "prescription" that our Lord would give to each of us would differ. He would no doubt single out those things in each of our lives that are being used as an earthly substitute for our relationship with God. But the final part of the "prescription" will remain for each and every one of us. We all need to "take up the cross". In our lives there are small crosses, there are huge crosses. The small ones God has given us strength and grace to overcome and deal with as we encounter them. The huge ones are crosses that we need His help to carry. We must never be afraid nor ashamed to come to Him for that help. Indeed, we must at times allow for His placing others into our lives to be such helpers. Remember, on the way to Golgotha, even our Lord had Simon of Cyrene to help Him carry His Cross!
Let us all, then, follow the One who loves us through our errors!
Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio
This blog is a partial compilation of the messages, texts, readings, and prayers from our small mission community. We pray that it will be used by our own people, to their edification. And if you happen by and are inclined to read, give the glory to God!
The blog title, "Will He Find Faith on the Earth?" is from Luke 18:8, the "Parable of the Persistent Widow." It overlays the icon of the Last Judgment, an historical event detailed in Matthew Chapter 25, for which we wait as we pray in the Nicean Creed.
We serve the Holy Orthodox cycle of services in contemporary English. Under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchal Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, we worship at 5107 Darrow Road in Hudson, Ohio (44236). If you are in the area, please join us for worship!
Regular services include:
Sunday Divine Liturgy 10AM (Sept 1 - May 31)
930AM (June 1 - Aug 31)
Vespers each Saturday 6PM
We pray that you might join us for as many of these services as possible! We are open, and we welcome inside the Church all visitors who follow state COVID guidelines.