“If you want be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.”
It was a real treat to watch “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” over Christmas with that magical blend of music and humour. There is one scene where an airship is getting closer and closer to the sea and all manner of pieces of equipment (and people) are tossed over the edge. It is a gentle reminder that all of us very often take on board so much baggage that we find ourselves sinking and slowing down. We need to learn to jettison all that is excess. We need to let go of all that we simply do not need.
The young man who approached Jesus came with a heavy burden as he wanted to know what he had to do to get eternal life. Yet what was on his mind and in his heart in his seeking and searching was not what was pulling him down and holding him back. He declared that he had kept the commandments that Jesus had rhymed off, none of which would have taken him by surprise. Yet, there is one glaring omission and that is covetousness. Perhaps there is more than a hint here that the problem was not what they man had but what he wanted. What is it they say about “I wants”?
This man’s poverty was in his riches or, rather, his love of riches. Jesus recognised that he had so much to give both to the poor and to Jesus himself, his riches to the poor and his life to Christ. The man was nowhere near ready for that level of commitment. As he had almost certainly coveted so much in his life what he coveted the most was eternal life which sadly was just out of his reach.
Lent is a time to give up and very often that means not just giving up chocolate for a while but those aspects of our lives that inhibit our spiritual growth. Letting go means that we can then take on more in relation to our commitment to Christ and our commitment to the poor who were never far from the mind of our Lord for even here he makes reference to them.
• What is holding you back? What is pulling you down? What do you need to let go of to bring you closer to Christ and allow you to serve him and the poor with a generous heart of compassion?
Lord, you are a generous God,
generous with your time, your loving gifts and the gift of your son.
May your giving to us make us more and more generous that
the more we follow you, the more we let go of the past and what we once held dear.
Take us as we are . . . who we are . . . . what we have
as we dedicate ourselves anew to you and each other.