Doing The Impossible
Opening Question: How many of you know someone who is really smart? Is it possible to be really smart and do something dumb? How?
First Reading: Wisdom 7:7-11
Randy was in the gifted program at school. He always got straight A’s on his report card. But Randy was always in trouble. He would talk out in class, make funny comments to make the other students laugh, and tried to outsmart his teachers in discussion.
One day, Randy went too far. During a discussion in class, he deliberately try to change the subject. When Randy’s teacher asked him why he was trying to change the subject, Randy said that the discussion was boring and the teacher was stupid. Red faced and embarrassed by the remark, the teacher sent Randy to the principal. When the principal heard what happened, he immediately had Randy call his mother to pick him up from school. Randy was really in trouble now and he knew it. When his mother came to take Randy home, Randy’s mother only had one question: “Why?” Randy was too embarrassed to answer and rode home in silence.
People are born smart, but that does not stop them from doing stupid things. People learn to make good choices. The writer in our first passage first prayed for wisdom, the ability to make good decisions. He depended upon God to give him that wisdom.
How important is it to have wisdom? The writer of the passage said it was more important than money or power or health. With wisdom, the ability to make good decisions, one knows how to use money, power, and health.
Bridging Question: Have you ever done something so amazing, you surprised yourself?
Gospel: Mark 10:17-27
When Jesus first started on a journey, a man ran up to him, felt to his knees, and asked, “Perfect Teacher, what do I have to do so I can receive eternal life?”
“Why do you call me ‘perfect?’” Jesus shot back. “Only God is ‘perfect.’ You know God’s commandments: Don’t kill. Don’t be unfaithful in marriage. Don’t steal. Don’t lie about others. Don’t cheat. Honor your parents.”
“But, teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was a young boy.”
As he looked at the man, Jesus felt love for him. So, Jesus said, “There is something else you don’t have. Leave here, sell everything you own, and give the money you earn to the poor. You will have treasure with God. Then, come and follow me.”
The man’s face turned very sad for he was rich. So the man left. Jesus looked around and said to his followers, “It’s really hard for the rich to enter God’s Kingdom!” Jesus’ followers looked surprised by what he said. So, Jesus told them again, “Children, it’s really hard to enter God’s Kingdom. It’s easier for a large camel to squeeze through the small eyelet of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s Kingdom.”
Now Jesus’ followers were really surprised! “Then, who can be saved?” they asked.
Jesus looked right at them and said, “People can’t to it by themselves, only God can do it. For ‘everything is possible with God!’”
David was a fair soccer player. He usually played defense, but this day the coach decided to put him in as left forward against the first place team. For the second time in the first quarter, David slid the ball past the other team’s defender and ran toward the goal alone. On the first breakaway, the goalie dove for the ball and got a save. This time, however, David kicked the ball away from the goalie, hit the top bar of the goal box, and bounced in behind the goalie. The faces of everyone there said it all. That’s impossible.
Of course, David’s teammates cheered him. And, of course, the people on the other team shook their heads as if to say, “Lucky shot!” But David was just getting warmed up.
At half time, David’s team was down by two goals. David’s coach decided to place him on defense again. “Why coach?” David objected. “I just scored a great goal!”
“I know, David,” the coach replied, “but I need you to stop the other team. You’re our spark today.”
David seemed to understand. During the third quarter, David led his team and shut down the other team’s offense. The other team didn’t get any shots on goal. David outran all three of the other team’s forwards. He stole the ball four times. Once he sent the ball sailing past the other team’s defenders so his team could get a breakaway. David’s kick was perfect. And David’s teammate scored. His team congratulated the forward. And they gave high fives to David.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, David and his coach were thinking the same thing. “Put me in as a mid-fielder, Coach!” David said.
“I’m ahead of you on that one,” the coach replied as he showed several plays with David as a mid-fielder.
The fourth quarter, the other team changed to a man-to-man defense. They pressed hard. Passing the ball was difficult for David’s team, but that would not get David down. He faked a right move but tapped the ball left. The person on the other team went right. But, David turned left and made his run toward the goal. By the time the opposing players came to defend, the goalie had stepped forward out of the box. David stopped and kicked the ball over the wall of defenders and the head of the goalie. Another impossible shot. Another goal for David.
Now the game was tied. The other team pressed their attack, but David’s team would not bend. Most of the action remained mid-field and David was in the center of the action. Both teams battled hard and played their hearts out. As the minutes and seconds ticked down, each team, each team player tried harder and harder. “One minute!” cried the coach. David’s heart was pounding faster and faster, but he had the strangest feeling if the impossible were to happen, it would happen that day.
David ran to the ball and tried another fake. This time the defender on the other team did not take the bait. “We’re going to have to pass the ball forward,” David thought. He passed the ball to his team mate who made a run toward the goal. A defender on the opposing teams slid and kicked the ball out of bounds by the goal.
Seconds ticked by quickly as David’s team set up for a corner kick. David’s team rushed into the goalie box as his teammate kicked ball. Suddenly, the official whistled “Game over!” But the ball was still in the air. David jumped up and tapped the ball with his head. As he fell to the ground, David saw the ball sail by the goalie into the net. The official blew the whistle again and signaled a goal. Another impossible shot. Another goal for David.
In the rush of good feelings because of the win, someone asked David if he ever thought he could lead his team in such a great game. “I just had this feeling,” David answered. “I just felt I could do the impossible!”
In today’s gospel, Jesus challenged a man to do what he thought was impossible. Give up his life as a rich man and follow Jesus. Was the man a good man? Yes. Could he see he could do the impossible? No. But if the man could only see what Jesus saw, he could do the impossible. Jesus saw God could give this man power. The power to give up everything he did. The power to start a new life with Jesus. If only the man could see what David saw If he could only see what Jesus saw. He could do the impossible. He could do it!
Closing Question: Have you ever felt or dreamed the impossible? Have you ever offered that feeling or prayed to God? What happened?