Mt 19: 16-29 Mk 10:17-22 Lk 18: 18-23
A man, says Mark, someone according to Matthew, an official if we read the Gospel according to Luke: someone rich for sure. Here is an intriguing character to continue our meditation with the Great friends of God as we approach now the New Testament. Let us think of a very wealthy man, maybe coming from a noble family; rich in goods and fortune. Someone special, though, because he has in his heart the most important question: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?“(Mk 10:17). Life is too far a great gift to be squandered in anything less then perfection, wrote Thomas Merton. The smartness and depth of that desire leads me to ask myself: what is the biggest question of my life, the one which is at the foundation of my very existence? What am I looking for? “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Mt 7,8) Jesus gives the answer, even better: Jesus IS the answer. “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jh 14:6) Once again, this man surprises us and, in some away even shocks us. Who would dare to answer with such secure attitude: “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” (Mk 17:20) And yet this is still not enough. Here is the turning point: Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him (Mk 17:21). Again, I pause on this verse to let it sink deep down in my heart. I let the gaze of Jesus look straight into my eyes, penetrating my soul in a personal and profound way, reaching my inmost being. From this very gaze comes a radical request: “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to (the) poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” (Mk 10:21) GO, let all your securities behind you, SELL your stuff, passions, ideas, be free from any weight. Then COME. Surround yourself to me and follow me. Only the authority of Love can ask such trust: total and complete. It is indeed in love that what is difficult becomes possible. As the love a mother will rejoice in seeing the creature she bore on her womb even after the pain of childbearing. In love a young man or woman can forgive the parent who abused him or her. It is because of that same love that the prodigal son will come home or a stubborn sinner will embrace the Mercy of God. The man of the Gospel though doesn’t. He is unable to respond to God’s love. He doesn’t say either yes or no: he simply goes away sad. It is the sadness of someone who doesn’t respond and remains shocked, afraid, blind humanly and spiritually wrapped in his attachments. Even Jesus says: “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one”. (Mt 5:37) It is a very sad end of the story. Once again we are left with a question. Do I respond to God’s love or am I always undecided and pending in my decisions? Do I courageously say YES? In the back of my mind I can hear the question Jesus once asked His disciples “Do you also want to leave?” (Jh 6:67)
I now ponder and pray asking God the Grace and the strength to welcome His love in my life and be able to answer with Peter: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”. (Jh 6:68) We come full circle now: the deep question of the man the search for the recipe to gain eternal life is in the very person of Jesus. “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ”. (Jn 17:3).
That desire for eternal Life is fulfilled by responding with a solid YES to God’s love who reveals Himself in the Son and calls everyone to enter into a personal communion with Him. This is true not only in big decision but especially in our daily life struggles: when I accept to accomplish my duties without complaining or I welcome some unexpected event as an opportunity to grow in virtue or I choose to love someone I can’t stand rather then avoiding him or her.
Promptly answer with a sincere “yes” to the inspirations that God suggests to my heart.