What must I do? 

Ash Wednesday is only two days away, and many of us are wondering what we “must do” this Lent. Let’s use today’s Gospel account of the conversation between the rich young man and Jesus to help us answer that question.

First, Jesus reminds the man that only God is good (Mark 10:18). Why does he say this? Perhaps he wanted to reassure the man that God is not a taskmaster keeping tallies of all the ways we fail. He is a good God who only wants what is good for us.

Second, Jesus tells the man to keep the commandments (Mark 10:19). That’s a starting point for us as well. Most of us find at least one or two of the commandments especially difficult to follow. So what “must you do” to make progress in these areas during Lent? Perhaps you will sense Jesus encouraging you to go to Confession more regularly or to spend more time in prayer. Remember, he looks at you just as he looked at the rich man—with love (10:21). Even when you’re struggling with sin, Jesus is on your side, interceding for you so that you can become more like him.

Third, Jesus invites the man to go one step further: “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor . . . ; then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21). Ask yourself, “What might I be lacking in my life?” Perhaps empathy for a family member, or patience with your children, or the courage to spread the good news. What Lenten practice would open you up to receiving the grace to follow him more closely?

The man in the Gospel “went away sad” because he couldn’t let go of his attachments and make an active decision to rely on the goodness of God (Mark 10:22). Don’t let that happen to you this Lent! Let Jesus show you how you can grow closer to him these next six weeks. God is good, so you can trust that he will lead you in the way that is best for you.

“Jesus, I want to trust and follow wherever you lead me this Lent.”

1 Peter 1:3-9
Psalm 111:1-2, 5-6, 9-10
Mark 10:17-27


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