Devotional/Discussion thought of the day:
Last night, as a couple of friends and I were talking about the gospel reading for this week, we struggled with the message that will develop out of it.
Because it challenges our idols, it challenges the things we cling onto for support. And if we are to preach it clearly, we will have to destroy and idol or two. This isn’t easy, and the reaction of the man in the story is what we, as those who are tasked with what is fancifully called “the proclamation of the gospel” fear. The man came to Jesus, desiring eternal life, willing to bend his knee and honor Jesus, and at the end of the discussion this is what happens.
“he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving,”
He went away, rather than accept the invitation to accompany Jesus, in reality to do exactly what was at the heart of the question – to experience heaven, to be in the presence of God. For if he had given all that restrained him, all that bound him, this young man would have walked with God, just as Enoch did, just as Abraham and Moses and David… and Peter and James and John. What he wanted was right before his eyes! And he walked away, turning down what he wanted most. And not only did he turn away, he left broken and stumbling and….grieving.
While he went his way, Jesus went away, for the joy set before Him. A joy that would lead him to the cross. For this young man, into whose heart he looked, and loved, and would die for, gladly. He would endure the cross to break the power of sin, in this case, the sin of idolatry, and by breaking those bonds, the man would be able to do that which he most desired, to live in the presence of God. He would be able to do, that which we cannot do. Jesus would come to him the next time, and free him of that sin, and unite with him.
A good summary of the lesson for us would be this prayer….may we each pray it today, embracing the pain that being separated from our idols will bring, for the joy that was set before Jesus….that caused Him to give up everything that had to do with Himself, that He could share with us that glory and love.
“”Lord, grant me the grace to give up everything that has to do with myself. I should have no other concern than your Glory… in other words, your Love. Everything for Love!” (1)
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1038-1040). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.