Yesterday’s Gospel readings is one of my favorites, not because it sounds poetic or has some inspirational saying that people put on posters with cats, but Mark 10:22 is one of my favorite verses of scripture because of freshman theology class with Fr. John. One of the activities in this class was to illustrate a given bible passage and I remember Fr. John sharing with us a picture that one of my classmates drew about this verse.
“At that saying his face fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.”
Now this verse comes from a conversation Jesus is having with a rich man and this is the end of the conversation where Jesus tells the man that if he wants to inherit eternal life then he must sell all his possessions and follow Jesus. The above is the rich man’s reaction to Jesus, and my peer in freshman theology class took this verse very seriously when drawing their illustration because they drew a man standing with a face near his feet!
At first I thought this was hysterical! Who would take this verse so seriously, there are many translations of this verse and most say that the man merely went away sad, but because of my peers picture from that point on every time I heard that reading all I could imagine was a man standing with a face at his feet. At first I would tell myself to get rid of this foolish thought and focus on the great sacrament of the mass. But it was no use! So then I took it to God saying, “Clearly God you want me to learn something from this otherwise get this image out of my head” and you know what? God did have something for me to learn and this is it: Your face is your identity. Think about it. In superhero movies they always have masks covering their face, why??? To conceal their identity! So saying that the rich man’s face fell makes me think that instead of establishing his identity in God, as a follower of Christ, the rich man had his identity in his money. So when Jesus told him to give his money away, his face fell because his money was what gave him his identity.
What does this have to do with us and me personally? Well coming back to college made me rethink my wardrobe because what says who you are more than your fashion, right? For example yesterday I almost spent an hour picking out an outfit. An hour! (ok I have spent longer than an hour to pick out an outfit before ) And so when I went to mass and heard this reading and thought about what made my identity I realized that I was doing exactly the same thing the rich man was doing! I was defining my identity by my clothes rather than defining my identity as a daughter of the King.
So I challenge you not to ignore the seemingly crazy thoughts like people’s faces falling off while you are trying to pray. If it happens once try to refocus, but if you can’t seem to shake a crazy thought don’t get angry or hide it bring it to God maybe He’s telling you something that you need to hear, like your identity does not rest in others, or the way you dress or look but in the God who created you out of love! (Someone should have told Borne Ultimatum that and that movie would have been way shorter 😉 )