In the Gospel reading we read how a young man is prevented from becoming a disciple of Christ because of the riches he has. Those of us who are part of the RCIA journey are on the road to becoming disciples and this passage helps us reflect on what prevents us from following Christ more closely.
The young man in the story asks an important question which is something we can all reflect on: ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ This man is clearly on a faith journey and has recognised that the purpose of his life is to have eternal life, but he is not sure how to achieve it hence his question to Jesus. Jesus responds with: ‘Keep the commandments,’ which is the bare minimum, but he knows that this young man is capable of much more, so he gives him a challenge: ‘If you want to be perfect sell what you have , give the money to the poor, and then come and follow me.’
This young man was on the brink of a new and exciting world. He hesitated, thought about it, looked back at his old world, weighed up the things he had to leave and realised he couldn’t do it. There was too much in the old world that he loved and wanted and refused the invitation. If only he had said yes, what would his life have been like?
All of the RCIA process is a journey of faith and on that journey we have to reflect on our lives and make an assessment of our values, our attitudes and how we live our lives with Jesus as our guide. This passage encourages us to make an honest assessment of the things in our lives that get in the way of our relationship with God. Sometimes we have to let go of the old to acquire the new. If we fear to lose the pleasures of our old world we may never taste the joys of the new.
In all this it is important to remember that the aim is to draw ever closer to the kingdom of God and have in our lives those eternal values of faith, hope and love. St. John of the Cross reminds us of this when he writes: ‘In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.’
Key questions for reflection and discussion:
What are the things in your life that get in the way of your relationship with God?
Are you willing to change?
Lord, help us to see you more clearly, to follow you more nearly, and to follow you more dearly, so that under you gentle urging we may make steady progress along the road that leads to your kingdom. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 St. John of the Cross, The Sayings of Light and Love 64 in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. Kavanaugh, K, O.C.D and Rodriguez, O, O.C.D; (1991).
Flor McCarthy, SDB (1999): New Sunday and Holy Days Liturgies, Dominican Publications, Dublin, p.323.