Mass Reading & Meditation for August 19, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 19:16-22
Saint John Eudes, Priest
“Come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21).
Sometimes our eyes get fooled. Magicians distract us with drama to keep us from seeing what how they do their trick. Optical illusions focus our eyes on detail, and we have to refocus in order to see the real image. And it’s not just with our physical eyesight that we can have the wrong focus. Sometimes we get our focus wrong in our spiritual life as well.
Jesus encountered a young man in today’s reading who was focused on getting everything right in his life. In fact, he was quite confident that he was making good progress, but he knew something was missing. He assumed it was one more thing he could do, something he needed to add to his list. But Jesus wanted to refocus his attention. “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor… . Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21).
Jesus knew that as a rich and powerful leader, this man faced many obstacles to following these words. Suddenly, the one who was so confident in his abilities was brought up short. He couldn’t shift his attention from himself and his achievements to refocus it on Jesus. But that’s where he could find the answer to his question, about gaining eternal life?” Jesus is the answer: following him, being in relationship with him. That’s the way to eternal life.
This passage tells us about the power of idols to keep us from following Jesus. For this fellow, it was possessions that held him back. For someone else, it may be status or resentment or an sinful relationship. In reality, it could be anything that takes our focus off of Jesus and his call to eternal life.
Whatever is holding you back, don’t make it into a bigger obstacle than it has to be. Don’t think that he won’t accept you until you have overcome it completely. You don’t have to go away sad, as this rich man did. Instead ask Jesus to help you step by step. He will! So take up Jesus’ offer, and choose to follow him just as you are.
“Jesus, help me to turn my eyes to you, and to follow you wherever you lead.”
Judges 2:11-19; Psalm 106:34-37, 39-40, 43-44