Trusting in his Father, Jesus musters the courage to surrender for us everything he has and all that he is. To belong to him and to his kingdom entails such trusting surrender.
Jesus praises the intelligence of the scribe who has asked, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” So, he says to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But it surely is not an unqualified endorsement. After all, the one who is not far from the kingdom has yet to reach it. He still needs to make a total surrender.
No, it is not enough that the one who is worthy of praise is not among the scribes who will be punished more harshly. To be inside the Kingdom, not just near it, the scribe has to give up all conceitedness. He cannot be a show-off. Moreover, he should set aside all cravings for power, for the first places and seats of honor.
But more importantly, he must not surrender to greed. It often leads people to enrich themselves at the expense of even the most hapless and helpless. And, sadly and disgustingly, it has no qualms about disguising itself as piety.
To belong really to Jesus, however, and to his kingdom means more than just avoiding hypocrisy, self-righteousness, pride, greed and injustice. It is, above all and specifically, doing and being as the widow who gives more than the others. Entrusting herself to God, she gives from her poverty. She does not hesitate to surrender all her livelihood. Generous to the extreme, she is an image of Jesus.
Jesus, in turn, is the image of the God who is quick to surrender all that he has and is.
God does not spare his own Son. Rather, he hands him over to sustain us poor people, especially the poorest of us, the fatherless and the widows.
The Son, of course, is consubstantial with the Father, that is to say, one with him. So, then, God surrenders for all of us his very being as he hands over his own Son.
And Jesus, the Son, is the one who reveals the God whom no one has ever seen. He is the embodiment of God’s total surrender. We come to know what is love, that is, who God is, because Jesus lays down his life for us. Because he offers himself to take away sins, giving up his body and shedding his blood for us.
Lord Jesus, make us gladly spend and be spent giving witness to your total surrender in love. Teach us to empty ourselves to clothe ourselves with you, to renounce ourselves to follow you (SV.EN XI:311; SV.EN III:384).
11 November 2018
32nd Sunday in O.T. (B)
1 Kgs 17, 10-16; Heb 9, 24-28; Mk 12, 38-44