Today's Gospel Reading and Reflection
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Today's reflection takes you to this link which is the address given by Pope Benedict on this Gospel passage on the 25th World Youth Day ( given on March 28th 2010).
This is a great passage for young people to inspire vocations but what about those who cannot sell everything, who have financial committments, families, jobs and who are tied to the vast economic machine of life in the Western World which feeds on our vapid desires and restless needs to be satisfied with so much rubbish .
We compromise by doing good deeds from time to time, giving but never giving until it really hurts.
So many of us really are Sunday Christians and we know it.
No matter what we say to ourselves our scale of giving is often carefully balanced by our scale of keeping enough back for our own comfort.
But God keeps prodding us to reconsider our attachments that take us away from the source of true life.
The struggle to be good, and to bring social justice to the poor and the most vulnerable in society is always there.
We cannot all be radical social activists in a big way but we can try to respond to live simpler more just lives in small ways every day and small transformations can and do make a difference.
It is not easy to become detached from the materialistic world we live in.
But as long as material wealth is our uppermost priority then our spirituality is lukewarm.
We just don't trust God enough. Sometimes we progress in our spiritual life, thinking we give everything that God asks for, until the day comes when He asks for something we aren’t prepared to give.
We have hit "our spiritual wall" .
Our spiritual life stalls -- sometimes for years -- until we are willing to give what Jesus asks for.
The devil is perfectly willing to have a person profess Christianity as long as he does not practice it.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “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.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
The material world continues to attract and seduce us but ultimately it does not satisfy our deepest longings for wholeness.
But God promises that if we give up our own selves to follow him, He will fill our lives with Himself.
Today at Mass I professed my faith in The Holy Spirit and I professed my belief that the Holy Spirit is still working in my individual life, in my church and throughout the world.
I realise that God chooses not to work so much with flashes and awe these days, but I do believe God is working !!
On Pentecost Sunday, a few thousand years ago the Holy Spirit took a rag-tag bunch of disciples and turned them into the church. The Holy Spirit took people just like us and did great and wonderful things with them.
I believe that the Holy Spirit longs to do the same with us today.
I may have to wait. I have to keep listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
If I set my heart to loving God and loving my neighbour, I believe that the Holy Spirit will be there in my life just as he was powerfully with the first Christians. The special effects may be less dramatic, but the power is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
I have to keep believing that we are Easter people.
But it was the Holy Spirit at Pentecost that created the church.
It has been the Holy Spirit that has sustained it throughout the centuries.
It is the Holy Spirit that today I pray will continue to nurture my church and our faith.
On this Pentecost Sunday I pray for the outpouring of the Spirit.
I pray to be shaken loose from my comfort zone.
I pray that we may all be used by God to do great new things to bring His kingdom here on earth.
Christ calls all people to perfection, to place God above all things.
The point is that with God, the camel can get through the eye of the needle.
But it is going to be very hard on all of us camels.