This past Sunday's sermon must have been good because I find myself thinking about what Father Peter said concerning the boy in the scripture verse. Two thoughts come to mind. It wasn't that he was rich, as God bestows blessings as He wills, that getting into heaven would be made a problem. The young man "desired" eternal life and wanted to know what he "must do." Jesus clearly said to him, "If you be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor," (His treasure would then be in heaven). "And come, follow me."
Do you desire salvation? The boy wanted to be saved, but could he follow Christ's directive? Accomplishing this goal would have taken from him perhaps, more than he was able to "freely give." "He went away sorrowful for he had great possessions." He did not choose to follow Christ, like the Women.
Today, I was reading my newest book, "Happy Birthday," A Novel --by: Danielle Steel. She has captured my attention each and every day with her dynamic books which I read like a sequel, while peddling my bike. It's what keeps me looking forward to the dread daily exercise, and I must give her the credit for my fitness endeavors. Delving into her chapters has become one of my favorite past-time activities. It was of interest to me how two characters, both sharing the same birthday, have something in common with the boy of Sunday's scripture. Jesus tells the young man, "If you would be perfect, go". The lady, now in her sixties, must strive to look like the perfect younger woman, with no roots showing, and having a superb figure, must be elegant and fashionable. There is even her so-called Botox treatments. The 50-year-old man is suffering from possibly a herniated disk, which he blamed on a night of "acrobatic sex", and a young woman of twenty-two. All he wanted for his birthday was no more suffering and the continuation of his lifestyle of sex and women. Girls were excited to go out with him, he's the "perfect man", a retired quarterback and sportscaster.
I suppose that this has become the sort of reality of life. We must live up to expectations which exceed our reality. But in reality, who we really fooling? Have we become like the scriptural reference of the woman, who had fallen into many sins. Prideful and perfect.
As father explained, in his sermon, "What is keeping you from the love of Christ?" Is it your possessions, passions or pride? Or, something else? We must be humbled to find the way to our Lord, like the Women, "caught up in a multitude of sins," as we learn from the hymn of Kassiani, who "perceived Christ." (Obviously, she had been studying Him.)
What she "perceived about Christ is His Divinity." She was a myrrh bearer. Seeking to kiss and embrace His sacred feet and wipe them with her hair, as was her role, before His burial.
Lamenting, she did not take her eye off of Christ, as Peter did and began to sink, but said, "Do Not Disregard me your servant....You, whose mercy is boundless."
We are too self-centered, in a self-centered world, who have often lost sight as to why we are here and where we are going. Have you ever thought about what your role is? Jesus, tells us clearly. "Come, follow me." The gospel message of Sunday teaches us that there is only "One who is good, and humble" and the myrrh hearing woman tells us that "His mercy is boundless."
The scripture ends with the words. "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
The scripture reference is taken from Sunday's bulletin and reading. (Matthew 19:16-26) Sept. 4, 2011
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