Tuesday, October 26, 2010

(8) Ideal & Impossibility

Responding to Jesus about selling one's belongings and giving
to the poor, the disciples were completely overwhelmed and
exclaimed "then who can be saved?" Jesus responded, "For man
it is impossible but not for God. With God all things are possible."
[THE NEW TESTAMENT, Mark 10: 20-27.]

Comment: This relates to Jesus' story about the camel trying to
pass through the Eye of the Needle. If my memory serves, this
referred to a small gate passing through the wall of Jerusalem.
And sometimes I tend to think more in contemporary terms,
about a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. What these
scripture verses seem to infer is about Ideal and Impossibility.

The Ideal is always set before us. In this case, casting off
one's wealth and giving it to the poor. And the Impossibility
is the steep realization about doing this! Not everyone is
filthy rich, but many are well off enough. Rather than
inherited luxury, they had worked long and hard for their
money. And more than often they have responsibilities of
family, of putting food on the table and a roof overhead.

So there's an "attitude" about giving away one's wealth to
those who sometimes are thought poor due to their own fault.
Not just in Jesus' day, but right up to our own, there has been
an uneasy reluctance towards the poor.

Yet in the midst of this, there's this dictate about giving one's
all to the poor. The disciples saw this as an impossibility, as
do most of us today. As for the question about "who can be
saved," well other than a few saints strung across the centuries,
very few of us. Yet Jesus answered that "with God all things are
possibile." He places this particular "possible" in juxtaposition
with "impossible."

Perhaps we can only carry through this Ideal--or any other
ideal--only with God's help. Making an ideal possible oft is
very difficult and usually does involve some amount of
sacrifice. But I have to ask, where would we be if we didn't
have ideals set before us? Probably not very far along.
Ideals serve as challenges not only to be good, but to grow.
They help propagate evolving maturity as well as generosity.

But these particular scripture seeds inject the condition of
poverty, of lending a helping hand, working towards rising
out-of-poverty. In today's world, we can think beyond
individuals as poor but can attest to poverty-stricken
communities, of "undeveloped nations." Internationally
poverty is omnipresent.

It would seem that until Poverty is eradicated at all levels,
our world will always live under a certain constant threat.
Poverty is something to be feared, when finally it rises in
Anger. Poverty also can propagate Disease. But above
all Poverty can be enslaved by Ignorance. These are terrible
conditions, which we witness to this very day.

So just maybe Jesus said his words about this from the
perspective of a certain *wisdom,* a kind of knowing that
until Poverty is eradicated we all suffer impoverishment
in a myriad of ways.

At this point there's no doubt we need God's help.