Today’s Gospel contains what may be the most reassuring words in all of Scripture. A young man has run up to Jesus to ask him a question about the demands of discipleship. After Jesus reminds the young man that following him means following the Commandments, the aspirant responds to the Lord, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Then, Mark recounts, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him…” Imagine, just for a moment, how that young man must have felt. To have the Son of God himself gaze upon him with the same loving expression that the Father himself looked upon Jesus, that Mary and Joseph received when they held their infant son in their arms, when Jesus looked down from the cross on his mother and the Beloved Disciple.
That young man received the same loving look from the Lord and was for that moment of all of God’s creation the sole focus of Christ’s attention. Who among us hasn’t longed for that kind of reassurance from the Lord? And, still, it wasn’t enough for the young man.
What reassurance we can find, then, in these words from our first reading: “Although you have not seen him you love him; although you do not see him now yet you rejoice with an indescribable joy.” The young man leaves the company of Jesus and the disciples sad because he cannot give up his many possessions.
What about you and me? What would any of us give up for just one second of that look of love from our Savior?
Father Tim S. Hickey is a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford currently serving as a mission priest in the Diocese of Dodge City, Kansas. A native Kansan, he was schooled at Benedictine College, Marquette University and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Prior to becoming a priest, Father Hickey was editor of Columbia magazine for the Knights of Columbus. He writes occasionally for Magnificat’s seasonal special issues and for Communion and Liberation.