Daily Gospel Reflection for August 18, 2014

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Today’s Gospel: Matthew 19:16-22

How much are we willing to give up in order to follow Jesus? Are we willing to give up our lives?

What does it mean to give up our lives? It’s not just being willing to physically die for our faith like the martyrs did. That alone seems impossible. But in challenging the young man in today’s gospel to sell all of his possessions and follow him, Jesus was asking him (and us) to give up everything.

Our family. Our parents. Our spouse. Our children.

Our home. All of our possessions, until we become as needy as the least of these.

Our friends. The community where we have planted our roots.

Our past. Our present and our future. Our time; every single second of every day.

Our dreams, aspirations and hopes. The talents we lay claim to. Our mind and the knowledge we’ve accumulated over the years.

Our pride. Our comfort. Our hunger and thirst.

There’s an old saying, “You can’t take it with you.”  This is because, in fact, we own nothing. Everything we have, right down the numbered hairs on our heads, are gifts from God. 

As long as we lay claim of ownership to anything in our lives, we can never follow Jesus in totality.

Jesus might have sounded harsh towards the young man who had followed the commandments so faithfully. If you read further in the chapter you will find that Jesus looked upon the young man with love when he turned away.

Jesus knows how hard it is to detach from our lives. He had to do the same after living thirty years in Nazareth with His family. He also knows what will make us everything we could ever hope to be. He only asks that we leave everything in His capable hands.

Everything.

Ponder:

Do I understand what it means to leave everything behind for Jesus? Am I willing to ask for the grace to understand and then to hand over everything into His hands?

Pray:

Lord, I am afraid. I cling to everything in my life like a toddler clutching her favorite toy. I can’t let go. Please grant me the grace to first desire to let go, and then to actually let go. Amen.

Copyright 2014 Susan Bailey

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About Author

Susan Bailey is an writer, speaker and musician. She is the author of River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult Times, published by Ave Maria Press, and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message, part of the Literary Portals to Prayer series published by ACTA Publications. Along with her own blogs Be As One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion), Susan frequently contributes to CatholicMom.com and the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers. She has also contributed to Catholic.net and Catholic Online. Susan writes articles and a monthly column known as Be as One for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press. Bailey, who works as a marketing/advertising assistant for a local real estate firm, is an associate member of the Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, where previously she served as chair and secretary, helping to organize the biennial “Gather Us In” women’s conference, one of the first major Catholic women’s conferences in the country. As part of her duties she wrote the monthly column for The Catholic Free Press known as “Concerning Women” and appeared on CatholicTV’s “This is the Day” to promote the conference. A professional musician and graphic artist, Bailey released four CDs, performed on EWTN, CatholicTV and World Youth Day 2002, and worked as a cantor in her parish of St. Luke the Evangelist for fifteen years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (with concentrations in US History and Music) from Bridgewater State University. She and her husband, Rich, have two grown children and live in North Grafton, Massachusetts. Susan invites you to join her email list where you will receive updates on exciting professional developments and speaking engagements. Email subscribers also receive special giveaways and previews of new projects. Susan loves a good conversation and looks forward to corresponding with you! Join here.

1 Comment

  1. Susan, thank you for this beautiful reflection. These verses have long confounded me, but you helped me to see and to pray them in a new light today. Thank you for that gift!

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