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Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

With COVID-19, I have been spending a lot more time in Lectio Divina. In my contemplation, the Gospel today stands out in today’s readings. We are reminded to place ourselves completely into the hands of Christ if we wish to be saved.

The Israelites, after being settled in the Promised Land, and after swearing to be faithful to God, turned away from God and worshiped false gods in his place. Other things became more important to them than keeping God’s commandments. We have that trouble too, don’t we?

There seems to be something in us that tends us towards sin, and we don’t seem to be able to control it. By ourselves we can’t, but if we let go and let God, as they say, the evil in us can be controlled. And that is what Jesus is trying to tell the rich young man who came up to him and asked, “Teacher, what must I do to possess everlasting life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments and love his neighbor as himself.

The man said he had been doing that but something still seemed to be holding him back. “If you seek perfection, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor. After that, come back and follow me.” The young man went away sad, we are told, for his possessions were many. To make God number #1 in his life and to rely on Christ before all else was too hard for him.

We all can relate to the young man’s predicament. Following Jesus is not always an easy or strife-free path. At times, doing what Jesus would do stretches us far beyond our comfort zone. Will we gladly follow Jesus? Or will we turn away sad and dismayed because we are not willing to sell all we have, leave home and family to follow Jesus?

There are things much too hard for us to give up. Whether they be sinful habits or attachments to other things that keep us from the perfection God wants of us, we find we cannot free ourselves of them on our own. Today Jesus is asking you and me to follow him. How will we respond to him? Will we gladly follow him? Or will we walk away sad and disheartened?

Remember, salvation is only possible through faith in Christ. He is the only solution to our weaknesses. The young man rejected that solution. Let us pray that God never allows us to make that same foolish mistake.

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