Scripture: Lectionary 420. Ezekiel 28:1-10. Deuteronomy 32:26-27.27-28.30.35-36. Matthew 19:23-30:
Today’s readings are very hard ones, especially, the one from Ezekiel and then the response from Deuteronomy. By listening carefully to the latter part of today’s gospel we can garner some positive insights about the spiritual life and the invitation to discipleship. Like the apostles, friends, and disciples of Jesus we are privileged to hear Jesus invite us to a deeper understanding of who we are when we are in a relationship with Jesus, our Lord.
After listening to how we are to be judged, we turn to a more positive challenge from Jesus that relieves us somewhat from the message of Ezekiel and Deuteronomy. Nothing is easy in this life of the spirit, but there are some positive outcomes if we take on the message of God and Jesus in our life for this day. The “sacrament of the present moment” is essential for doing this. The present is all we have some control of and this too is surrendered to the call and message of the Spirit.
Jesus promises Peter and the other disciples that they will enjoy many benefits in their relationships with others who now become brothers, sisters, family, etc. We will enjoy their company on our own journey in following the Lord. The Lord is never outdone in generosity; we are never asked anything that is beyond our capabilities if we follow the words and call of Jesus.
In the century in which Jesus lived, it was a belief that having riches and power were blessings from God; those who did not have this were not blessed with such things as land, possessions, even children. We know better that riches do not assure us that we have God on our side! Peter is shocked and has to reminded of how Jesus looks at the society in which he lives and how there has to be a primordial orientation to God if one is to be blessed. Jesus promises entrance into the kingdom which means we are meant to enjoy life beyond this life—eternal life.
Our detachment from things and even unhealthy relationships with people helps us to understand life in the Spirit with Jesus. Jesus stretches us beyond our comfort zones and securities and asks us to follow him despite the hardships we must undergo. Underlying the call to discipleship is always the Paschal Mysteries of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. The paradox of Jesus’ invitation is that our giving up many things and even some relationships will bring about many spiritual blessings and graces. Jesus’ gifts to us are in the realm of the Spirit.
We are all called to live a life of holiness and wholesomeness. Our commitment to Jesus is seen in how we relate to our families, brothers, and sisters, and neighbors. This is the way we enter the kingdom and lead others to follow Jesus. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.