I always notice how many of us suddenly find it more comfortable to sit at the back of the church when this reading comes around.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Mark 10: 25
To live freely, we must break the chains that bind.
For many during Lent people decide to give up something, very often it is a personal deprivation or renunciation of some sort.
It's OK for Lent; it's only forty days and then we can gradually slide back into our old ways. We may even hope that the "good habits" acquired during Lent stay with us a little longer or even become a more enduring part of our lives.
Some years back I joined some people for a spell of sleeping in a cardboard box to highlight the plight of the homeless. The experience of sleeping rough was nothing compared to the guilt afterwards of returning to our comfortable centrally heated homes knowing that for us the ordeal was over but that for the real homeless this was their permanent state.
A decision to take a trip from wealth to poverty while always knowing we have a return ticket back to wealth is an option two thirds of the world's population don’t have.
Even if we remain faithful to the church and try to live out our calling as best we can, a total renunciation of material wealth to follow God is something few choose.
I don't find it easy to justify my Western way of life and I don't expect God to make excuses for me.
Following Jesus Christ should never be a way of accepting the status quo.
However, in this passage it is not a stern Jesus that faces us head on with an uncompromising message - it is a Jesus who loooks at us and loves us in our weakness.
We never get to find out if the rich young man did eventually give up everything and follow Jesus. I like to think he did.
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
This is last year's post on today's gospel of the rich man the camel and those needle eyes !