Did you ever wonder what the purpose is of our trials in life? St. Peter gives us the answer. “For a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith…may prove to be for praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” In other words, trials help us to work on our “faith muscles!”
In the Gospel reading from Mark 10 is a familiar story – the encounter between Jesus and a guy commonly known as the rich young man. After Jesus tells him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, the man says he has done all those things. Here’s the rest of the story: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”
Jesus told him a hard truth. Wasn’t that mean? Don’t you think Jesus should have said, “It’s all good! You’re doing a great job! You don’t need to change a thing. Whatever you think is right is right.” How un-PC of Jesus! Why would He say such a thing?? The answer lies at the beginning of the sentence. “Jesus, looking at him, LOVED him…” (emphasis mine) Jesus told the man the hard truth because He loved him. He was truly concerned about the young man’s eternal destiny. It’s funny, when people speak hard truths these days, they’re labeled haters and bigots and monsters. Heaven forbid anyone actually speak truth out of love and concern for another’s soul. I wonder if people who brand others that way feel the same about Jesus…
Father, fill our hearts with love – enough love to speak truth out of genuine concern for others. Amen.