Vocation Meditation -
October 11, 2009
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'"
He said to Jesus, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; then come, follow me."
When the man heard this he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For humans it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible."
This story is a classic picture of everyone desiring to follow Jesus and do more for the Kingdom of God. Indeed, it is a vivid example of a vocation candidate before Jesus.
A man came running to Jesus. There is a moment of overflowing emotion in the young man's heart prompted by the desire to gain something from the Lord, the prize of eternal life.
The young man asked Jesus an existential question, one that would answer the nagging quest of his soul that would complete his joy. Jesus gave him the commandments. Following them would be enough to live Christianity.
But he wanted to do more to follow Jesus. Jesus invited him to have a radical attachment to Him through living a kind of lifestyle, the kind of life He actually lives-that of detachment from material things. The rich young man found this an obstacle to follow Jesus. He chose to be on the side of his possessions!
Jesus, looking at him, loved him. There were many things in that one look of Jesus to the young man.
- There was an appeal of love. Jesus was pleased to know he wants to live his Christian life to the full.
- There was the challenge to moral courage. It was a look that could pull him out of his comfort zones, from his respectable, settled life into the adventure of a closer following of Christ. It was a call to generosity, a call to give life for life!
- It was a look of grief, too. Jesus saw the promising young person preferring to choose to remain with his possessions. He failed to choose Jesus. He missed the call. He was unwilling to let go of himself in exchange for a life lived with Christ. He went away sad.
"You lack one thing; go, sell what you own. Then come, follow me."
What price am I willing to pay for this divine exchange?
I come running to you to give my life to follow You. Let me not linger long in the enthusiasm of that first encounter. Give me enough moral courage, generosity and a strong attachment to your Person rather than in my possessions. Let Your love fill me up and sustain me. Let me fix my gaze on You that I may never waver in my resolve. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.