Today’s Gospel reading from Mark 10:28-31 continues from yesterday when Jesus told a rich young man that he lacked one thing. He told him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor and then come and follow him. But the young man went away said because he had many possessions.
Saint Peter begins today’s passage saying … “We have given up everything and followed you.” My first thought was that I don’t think I have given up enough or very much to follow Jesus. I know my life is a mess without him. My second thought was a little more cynical as I thought how could Peter say that. He may have given up more than I am aware of but he sure did not follow him to the cross. We know in fact that he tried to hide and denied Jesus three times.
I am one who has no problem screaming I love Jesus to the world. If you ask me, I will share my love for Jesus with you. I will love you whether or not you love Jesus because that’s what he does. But I also know that I deny Jesus way too often in my thoughts, actions and lack of actions. My words of love do not always conform to action so there is no way I could confidently say that I have given up everything to follow Jesus.
Every day, scripture passages light me up. Some days it confirms my love and actions and other days like today, I realize how far I am from giving it up and following him. My pride and attachments are still many. I have prayed for simplicity in my life and in some areas God has graced me with wisdom, understanding and the knowledge to accomplish that goal. But living in this world is a great challenge and too often in my life, the world wins.
What I have learned though from my recent struggles is that I just have to keep on trying. Some priests have told me “don’t try just do it.” Sounds easy, hasn’t worked for me. In fact, I think that just feeds into my pride and will set me up to be humbled again in failure. Lord Jesus, I make no bold statement to you as I know I am unfaithful. But Lord, you are faithful, you love me and I want your help. Jesus, I trust in you. Amen.