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Beyond The Artichokes

What must I do to inherit eternal life?
Mark 10:17-30 or 10:17-27

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Sermon Week Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 10:17


In an old "Peanuts" cartoon, Charlie Brown is pictured on the beach, building a beautiful sand castle. When the castle is completed, a very self-satisfied Charlie stands back to admire his sand-made treasure. A single raindrop falls. Then, in the cartoon's final frame, the rain is coming down in torrents, and Charlie, looking very pensive, says philosophically, "There's a lesson of some kind in this someplace."

Tourists who visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo are likely to hear their guide say, "You could always measure the greatness of an ancient Egyptian ruler by the nature of his burial place. The greater he was, the more elaborate was the preparation of his final resting place." Actually, these burial customs for Egypt's high and mighty went through an evolutionary process that culminated in the building of the pyramids. Those mighty pyramids are symbolic of the power and the money and the prestige of their dead occupants. But, standing before these great wonders of the world, any one of us would be likely to echo Charlie Brown standing before his crumbling sand castle: "There's a lesson of some kind in this someplace."

Whether you're presently building castles-in-the-air or castles-in-the-sand, or pyramids in the desert, or castles-in-investment-portfolios, the old saw, "You can't take it with you," is every bit as true for you as for the mighty Egyptian rulers who built the pyramids.

Jesus said to His disciples, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul" (Mk. 8:36). And, in today's Gospel Lesson, a very wealthy man who has been attracted by Jesus' call to a new way of life, receives the same message. The rich man literally runs up to Jesus, kneels before Him, and asks, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mk. 10:17). Jesus questions the man about the kind of life he has been living. "You know the commandments," Jesus says, "Do not kill. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud. Honor your father and mother" (Mk. 10:198). The [...]

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