Difficult but Possible with God

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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Louie Punzalan SVD – Christ the King Seminary Quezon City

Monday 8th Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Gospel reading features the famous story of the rich young man; this story is also known as the gospel of the great refusal. The rich young man gave Jesus a big NO. The story applies to all of us. We are all “rich” in many different ways.

The story says that after his one-on-one conversation with Jesus, the rich young man left away forlorn because he had many possessions. “Go, sell what you have, give your money to the poor,” Jesus told him. The disciples were amazed at these words of Jesus. The rich young man was under the impression that his wealth was a sign of God’s favor. But the challenge of Jesus was too radical. The idea of giving alms to the poor and sharing his wealth with the needy was something about which the rich young man was unready and unwilling to fulfill. Jesus remarked, “How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God.” It may be challenging, but it is not impossible.

Have you ever had an experience of “passing through the eye of a needle”? We say in Filipino, “Parang dumaan sa butas ng karayom.” Jesus refers to a narrow entrance in the city wall of Jerusalem called the “eye of the needle.” Here Jesus is indicating something extremely difficult, in fact, next to impossible. Do you have any “extremely difficult, next to impossible” experiences?

In his conversation with Jesus, the rich young man heard words he could not forget, “You are lacking in one thing.” What does this comment of Jesus tell us? At this point we can ask questions like, What have I done? What else have I not done? What do I still lack to do? What else have I not given to the Lord? The Lord tells us to go deep down our hearts. What are your attachments? What are you refusing to surrender to the Lord? Do you still have any inordinate attachments?

Examine your life and enumerate your greatest blessings. One lovely image of God is Provider. How exactly does God play the role of Provider in your life? How much do you believe in divine providence?

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