A question which we should ask ourselves, what is the one thing in life that I cannot live without?
Is it a relationship with someone? A possession? An opinion? What is the thing that makes me feel the best about myself? What am I most afraid of losing? Or what I just cannot give up?
In the Gospel we hear today we meet a young man who is a pretty good man. He keeps all the commandments – all his life. He knows Jesus, talks to Jesus. But he knows that something is missing in his life. He asks Jesus what it is?
When we come to Jesus, as we do every time we pray, or come to the Divine Liturgy, we do not come to Him or the church, just to learn or hear what we already know and what we already believe.
We should come to church in prayer and to church to learn what is missing from our lives. We need how to find our way to eternal life. What do I lack? What do I need? What do I need to change so that I can find eternal life? We need to be open to what God might have to say to us.
As He did in the Gospel today, Jesus will tell us that we must follow Him. Not to just do the same things that everybody else in the world or even the church does. But we must find out what is missing in our life.
The Divine Liturgy is very rich in our spirituality. It is over a thousand years old. There is definitely a presence of God in the Liturgy.
It is a time of prayer and silence of the soul. We may find out that we need to change our thinking, our personal habits, our attitudes, our behaviour. We must enter the church to try to get to the next level of our spirituality.
The church teaches us many things and gives various steps to find God. We are asked to pray, to fast, to deny ourselves, to practise self- control and to resist our temptations.
The young man in today’s Gospel shows us that all of this is not easy. Instead of quitting, we must be persistent. What we want is on another level. God wants us to be like God Himself. We have been baptized, chrismated, and we receive the Holy Eucharist. These are already very important spiritual steps.
We have to remember that we want to become servants of God. We do not want to turn God into our servant.
We have come into this world and have brought nothing. We are not going to take anything out of this world.
That in itself is a lesson to us that our treasure is not of this life but will be found in heaven.
St Augustine once said. “O God, You created us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you”.
We have been created by God to live with God.
It is most interesting that Svetlana, the daughter of Joseph Stalin, raised as an atheist, later on in her life felt the need in her life to find God. In 1962 she became an orthodox. In 1982 she became a catholic and at the end of her life attended Divine Liturgy every day. It appears that she found what was missing in her life.
Luke 18:18-27: The Rich and the Kingdom of God
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]”
21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
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