Rethinking Jesus’ Attitude Toward People

Aimee and I are currently following the book “The Ignatian Adventure” by Kevin O’Brien.  Well, if I were being honest, Aimee is following the book and I am following Aimee as she follows the book.  It often works that way.  She is the first to see “the way” and I am running to keep up.

It is a book of Ignatian spiritual meditations that one can follow over a period of 32 weeks.

Today’s meditation was from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10.  It is a familiar story; the story of the rich, young ruler.

I have known this story all my life, with its ominous ending, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

The story starts at Mark 10:17… You might want to go read it afresh.

Here is our question from the morning.  What is Jesus’ attitude toward the rich young dude?

I think I was raised to believe that Jesus was a bit annoyed by him.  That he is the kind of pesky religious person who is leveraging any opportunity he can find to promote his spiritual resume.  “Look at me.  Look at me!  Look how good and religious I am.”  And as a result, Jesus is kind of like, “Okay pesky religious dude… Let’s dance.”

However, what if he was a really, really good guy?  What if I gave him the same benefit of the doubt that I give other laudable characters in the gospels like John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene or Lazarus?

Then I imagine Jesus responding with nothing but compassion, his eyes filled with warmth, at the contrite figure kneeling on the ground before him.  And his call to “sell all you have and give to the poor” would be saturated in a tone of “You have done so much… you are really one of the most devoted to my father… and I want only the best for you… this is my beloved task for you… sell all you have.”

Does that change the way that you see and interpret the scene?

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