This week was the fourth session of the Fall Reflection Series I’m offering at the University of St. Thomas Law School, titled, “Jesus Speaks.” The series seeks to deepen our appreciation of fundamental Christian teachings drawn from the words of Christ.
The title of this week’s session was Giving Up What We Cling To. The starting point for my reflection was the episode of the rich man in Mark’s Gospel who asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, an episode I used as a way of talking about the things we cling to that prevent us from wholeheartedly following Christ. The second part of my talk focused on the end of that Gospel, where the rich man walks away sad because of his inability to give up his possessions, and on Jesus’ patience in dealing with our limitations. That part of the talk included a consideration of the post-Resurrection scene between Jesus and Peter, where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. The change in Jesus’ language in asking the question (apparent in the Greek, but not the English version of the passage) has a lot to say to us about God’s love for us and patience with us.