December 15, 2018

Searching for Eternal Life

For the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the readings lead us to wisdom, transparency, and eternity. Regarding wisdom (Wisdom 7:7-11), we are told that the spirit of wisdom is more precious than silver or gold. Regarding transparency (Hebrews 4:12-13), we are informed that we can hide nothing from our Heavenly Father, for everything lies exposed to the eyes of God. And regarding eternity, the Gospel of Mark (10:17-30) answers THE question: What must one do to inherit eternal life?

If we look at the world around us with an open mind and an open heart, we see the evidence of our Divine Creator everywhere. Everything that exists in our mortal world was created by the will of God. We, as mortal beings, cannot create life. Only God can do that. Yet we are surrounded by life in various forms, be it plant, insect, animal and human. We can be partners with God in the process of creation, but only God can create the miracle of life. Consequently, we receive everything from our Creator God.

Both our faith and Sacred Scripture tell us that we are spiritual beings temporarily residing in our mortal bodies. These mortal bodies of ours will one day cease to function, but our spirit will live on. Our mortality will ultimately return to the earth from which it came. All life in our world is nourished by the earth. All life on earth receives its life giving nutrients from the earth. So in a real sense, the elements that make up our mortality are an integral part of the earth. And in that sense we are all one with the earth and we are one with everything that lives on it.

Knowing the oneness that we share with all of creation, love, then, becomes the only reality, because it is the only thing that we can create and give back to our Creator God. Our love of God, our love for one another and our love for all that God has created is the only lasting reality; because it springs from our spirit and not from our mortal flesh.

Our mortality, then, is purely a gift. It is a gift to be enjoyed. It is a gift that is intended to give us the opportunity to perfect the art of loving. And this mortal life that we are enjoying here and now is filled with experiences; some of those experiences we would classify as being good and some we would consider as bad, or at least less desirable. And the only thing that is consistent in this earthly life is inconsistency itself. Everything changes over time. We struggle with some of life’s experiences, we struggle to resist some of life’s changes, but all of that struggling is futile because change is inevitable. Change is a law of nature.

Consequently, we need to see all of these changes and experiences of life as simply opportunities for us to perfect the art of loving. In reality, there are no problems in life. They are simply opportunities for us to grow, to learn, and to become more perfect in our primary purpose in life. We need to learn to relax and enjoy the journey. Mortality only happens once for each and every one of us. God did not intend for us to spend our mortality in worry, fear and anxiety. Those things are from the evil one who is trying to rob us of the freedom that is ours. Our task is simply to do our best at whatever it is that God has placed before us, to put all our trust in God’s plan for our life, and to perfect the art of loving unconditionally.

The young man in the Gospel asked the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” To summarize the lessons given to us in our readings, we are to trust in the wisdom of God. We are to remember that everything in life is exposed to the eyes of God; and as such, God is intimately aware of everything that we are experiencing in life, as our second reading instructs. And lastly, we must not place our hopes and our trust in our earthly possessions, because we cannot buy or earn our salvation. “For human beings that is impossible.” (Mark 10:27) Our salvation is purely a gift, just as our mortality is a gift. And by living, loving and trusting God, our salvation is assured because, as Jesus said, “With God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

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Written by
Deacon Donald Cox

REVEREND MR. DONALD COX is a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Detroit. On June 9, 1979, Deacon Don was ordained to the diaconate by His Eminence John Cardinal Dearden, an important American Father of the Second Vatican Council. He is currently assigned to St. Cornelius parish in Dryden, Michigan. Married and the father of three children and grandfather to four children, Deacon Don was born and raised in Detroit, and educated at St. Brigid Elementary School, Mackenzie High School, and Lawrence Technological University. His theological training was taken at Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

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Written by Deacon Donald Cox