Hard message in today’s Gospel. Who among us is ready and willing to take up the challenge? There are countless stories about Saints who have heeded the admonition to “give it all up” and to follow Jesus. But I question whether this is what the Lord asks of us, literally? We need not all follow the example of Francis of Assisi or Katherine Drexel, for example.
Many men and women throughout the history of the Church have responded to the invitation of Christ. They have actually given up all their material possessions in order to lead the life of hermits, monks or nuns. Most of us are not eager to follow their example and, in truth, the Church and society could not sustain if we all did. Not everyone has the same calling, yet we cannot simply dismiss the invitation of Jesus as irrelevant or impossible.
It seems reasonable that Jesus is not concerned with wealth, but with obstacles. Jesus spoke to the rich young man about giving up wealth because wealth was his preoccupation, his attachment, his obstacle. Through this Gospel story, Jesus speaks to us about whatever it is in our lives that prevents us from becoming better disciples. When we take the word of Jesus seriously, we find that it is sharper than any sword. It will help us to cut out of our lives our attachments, our failures, and our obstacles to fully accepting the grace of discipleship.
If Jesus was standing before you at this moment and identifying your obstacles, how would you respond?
Would you walk away, sad and heavy of heart?
Or would you say, “Yes, Lord. I am here to do your will”?