What do these three snapshots have in common?
- “The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals.
Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers” (Judges 2)
- “They served their idols, which became a snare for them.
They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.” (Psalm 136)
- “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus: “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19)
Each snapshot describes people on a journey. All three were going in the wrong direction. Surprisingly, the rich young man had the least chance of repenting.
Pharisees, like the rich young ruler, were forever patting themselves on the back. Jesus never asked the Pharisees to have a “come to Jesus” meeting. Instead, Jesus issued woes: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
They do all their deeds are done for men to see. ”
In today’s readings, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
The disciples, in contrast to the rich young man, desired to be perfect. Peter spoke for the twelve, “We have given up everything and followed you.”