Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
August 19, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our readings are about possessions – in every sense of that word.
In today’s reading from Judges, the first of a few this week, we see Israel in the years between entering the Promised Land to the rise of Saul as king. During these four hundred years, a series of judges tries to keep Israel on track with God. It is a frustrating assignment!
As today’s passage describes, the Israelites get caught in an endlessly repeating cycle:
- worship false gods
- get zapped by true God
- feel really bad, say sorry
- be forgiven
- repeat cycle
Hmm! I’ve seen this pattern somewhere before. Oh, yeah! It’s just like the one describing all my good intentions that never quite materialized!
Many of us can identify with the rich young man in the Gospel. We want to take our relationship with God up a notch. We would like to be better, holier people. But we may also, like the young man, like the ancient Israelites, be caught in a cycle of behaviors and choices which inhibit us.
Jesus tells this young man to get rid of his possessions, freeing him to really follow Jesus.
What possesses us, holding us back from that radical following?
It is not always material goods. They are easy to identify and dispatch. It is our tightly held and hidden illusions, resentments, prejudices, assumptions, entitlements, fears, jealousies, disappointments, angers. These are the heavy chains that cling to us as we try to move deeper into God.
May we be inspired by Matthew’s young man to recognize and break through the cycles that bind us by hearing God’s invitation to wholeness – an invitation always deep within our life circumstances.
Music: Out of the Deep – Julie Bernstein