by Erik Ritland
The Word and the Church
Bible commentary following the Catholic Lectionary (which gives an overview of the entire Bible) by the Fully Alive staff
Thursday of the Eight Week in Ordinary Time
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I Pet. 2: 2-5, 9-12
Mk. 10: 46-52
A serious look at the Gospels – or a cursory one, even – disproves the contemporary myth that Jesus was just a nice guy who wanted everyone to be happy.
Reflecting on the Gospel of Mark in the last couple of weeks has driven that point home for me. Jesus calls us to live a radical life of obedience to God that is impossible to sugar coat. We learn this from his teachings on divorce, his desire for the rich young man to give away all his possessions, his call for each of us to be a childlike servant of all, and his declarations on the seriousness of sin (“if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off” and the like). What is more, Jesus promises us that we will also be persecuted for our faith.
And this is all only in chapters 9 and 10 of the Gospel of Mark.
Yet we also know that we have great joy and consolation in Christ. No matter how often we fall he will always be there to pick us up, promising to always welcome back the repentant sinner and give us peace. As he does to the blind man Bartimaeus, he gives us vision in a world so often clouded by darkness.
Jesus was not just a nice guy who wanted everyone to be happy. Jesus is God, and as God he shows us how to live in true joy and true peace, forgiven sinners called to live a life of obedience.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. He is the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, which features commentary on music, sports, and an intellectual ragbag. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
Erik Ritland is a journalist and musician. He's the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, a blog and podcast covering sports, music, and culture.