PRAYER FOR THE WEEK
Jesus, teach me to watch people and learn from them — and to learn from you! Amen.


A young man asked Jesus how to get to heaven. “Follow the Ten Commandments,” Jesus said. The man said, “I do that.” Jesus told him, “One more thing: Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, then come follow me.” The man sadly went away, because he was rich and didn’t want to do what Jesus asked.

This is the time when kids are trying out for school plays. One thing is common among most kids who audition: You want a lead role. It can be tough to hear, “You’re in the chorus,” when you wanted to be a star.

In this week’s Gospel (Mark 10:17-30), Jesus meets a man who wants to be a star. He tells Jesus he has the basics of the faith down: He goes to church and obeys the commandments. He says he wants to do more — whatever it takes to get to heaven.

When you’re auditioning for a play, you prepare. You learn a song to sing for the judges; you memorize a scene. You practice your acting skills, especially for the role you want. If stage fright is a problem, you work on staying calm.

In the Gospel story, the young man Jesus met wanted a starring role. He wanted to impress Jesus so much, he’d be assured of a spot in heaven, like he was auditioning for God.

Jesus pointed out that, if you want to aim for a role, you need to prepare. The young man couldn’t just say, “I follow the commandments; that’s good enough.” If he really wanted to be close to God, he needed to not own too much stuff. He needed to give all he could to the poor. He needed to follow Jesus.

You may work on acting and singing and still not get a lead role in the play. There are lots of kids trying out and few starring roles. But in the Gospel story, Jesus is saying, “Be humble.” If you’re in the chorus, be the best chorus member you can be — and watch the kids who do get the leads. What can you learn from them?

What can you learn from what Jesus said to the young man?