14th October, 2012 Readings: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This week’s Gospel is telling us so much, so I had to split the reading into a few parts and slowly milk those words.
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
What must I do to inherit eternal life? This is the question we ask God constantly. At least I do. At the end of the day, we all desire to return to God, and be complete in His love. There is so much reward in Heaven, yet God says it simply: Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. The exchange sounds pretty good right? Your life and temporary worldly possessions (like money) in exchange for eternal life, love and heavenly treasures?
Of course it is not that simple! We always struggle to fully follow Jesus. There are so many pull factors in the secular world, like the desire for academic success, success in the working world, temptations, material possessions and even peer influence (the list goes on). We also often find ourselves getting too comfortable in our daily routines until we end up basking in our stagnancy and stasis (This may even apply to our spirituality). We just can’t let go, or are afraid to let go, of what we think is security.
God challenges us this week to make a daring leap, to stop trying to control everything in our lives, to simply let go and trust. Let’s use an analogy, remember those times where you had to do the “trust fall” activity in camps? We always fear the possibility of our friends not being strong enough to catch the fall. With God, it is 100% guarantee, he is like a comfy bouncy mattress waiting to embrace your fall. So, let go.
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
“You are lacking in one thing”
The man has observed all the commandments, yet he is lacking in one thing. Oh no, there’s more? Observing rites and rituals is insufficient, we cannot blindly follow them and expect to inherit eternal life. God invites us to be serious about our faith, to live as he did. God also reminds us that we cannot be greedy and desire both God and our worldly possessions at the same time. We can’t say that we have two equally important priorities. So, we have to make a choice, and God hopes we choose him. In the same way when people tell us to give our very best in chasing our dreams, God tells us not be half-hearted in following him. If you really want it, you need to put in your 100%.
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Oh hahaha! God is a funny bunny. The image of a camel passing through the eye of a needle is a little hilarious. On a serious note, God acknowledges it is definitely a HUGE struggle to let go of our worldly comforts. Faith is not a stroll in the park. Entering the kingdom of God is not as easy as only believing and accepting that God is God. Instead, we are asked not only to be a practitioner of the faith but to be followers. And what does it mean to be a follower? Be a camel, let go of all the baggage and unnecessary possessions you are carrying so that you may fit through the door of the Kingdom of God – naked, vulnerable and ready to be embraced by God your saviour.
And this reading ends off really nicely,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
So, this week, aim to let go of something that you have been holding on tightly to. For me, it is being self-centered, and always expecting others to tend to my needs. What about you?