Mk 10:17-30 or 10:17-27


Barbara Heil


Have you ever experienced God asking you to give up something big in your life; something that costs so much; something that will be felt as a great loss? And yet, this was what happened to Barbara Heil. A convert to Protestantism, Barbara and her husband became missionaries, “church planters,” to different parts of the world. She was specially trained and had a “certificate” on how to convert Catholics. But as she stayed in the Philippines, she met wonderful Christians and was surprised to learn they were Catholics who were full of faith in God, love for the Lord, love for the mission and love for others.


This and other similar events led Barbara to believe and feel in her heart that God was calling her to enter the Catholic Church. Barbara faced a great dilemma. If she became Catholic, she would have to leave behind her missionary work, her Bible school, the church she and her husband worked for. In the end, she decided to give up everything and follow the whisper of the Holy Spirit.


Have you also experienced that once you decided to follow the Lord, giving up and surrendering to him what you have, that he gave you back more than you expected? Shortly after Barbara was fully accepted in the Catholic Church, her own mother, who never went to church for years, rediscovered her faith and became an active Catholic. Barbara has been busy with retreats, conferences, Catholic Bible study, and other ways of serving God and neighbor like never before. In fact I heard her tell this story of her life in her conference at the recent International Eucharistic Congress 2021 in Hungary. She continues to lead people, especially Catholics, to a life closer to and more intimate with Christ.


Jesus demands something from the man who approached him in today’s Gospel; he asks him to abandon and his riches and follow him. Unfortunately, the man went away sad because he prized his possessions more. Maybe today, Jesus is asking you to give up something, too. Not riches or material possessions only, but perhaps your own ambition so he can lead you somewhere else? Your pride so he can fill you with peace? Your anger and bitterness so he can send you his joy? Your painful memories of the past so he can help you move on towards a happier life?


It is difficult when Jesus demands us to surrender something. There is a real struggle. But like Barbara, will you be willing to give it a try? Will you be open to the greater surprises God plans for your life?