In the first reading from Ezekiel 24, God takes Ezekiel’s wife from him; she dies. But even before this happens, God tells Ezekiel not to weep and mourn when God takes away the delight of his eyes. Unfortunately, the character in today’s Gospel reading didn’t get that memo.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 19, we see Jesus having an encounter with a young man who has many possessions. We have come to know him as the Rich Young Man. He tells Jesus that he observes the commandments, and wants to know what else he needs to do to gain eternal life. And Jesus drops the big bomb on him. “Sell what you have and give to the poor…then come, follow me.” Not what the Rich Young Man wanted to hear.
How do those words make you feel? Quite honestly, they scare me. I’m perfectly comfortable in my current situation. But I think that Jesus’ message to us is not so much about selling all that we have, but being WILLING to sell all that we have. To detach from material possessions. From not making things, and the accumulation of things, more important than following Jesus. And if these things are taken from us, we should not wail and mourn. These words ran counter to the Rich Young Man’s sensibilities, and they run counter to everything the world tries to instill in us. What is the cost of following Jesus? Everything.
Father, help us to be willing to relinquish our attachments to material things. Give us the desire to sell all that we have, that we may follow Jesus wherever He leads. Amen.
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