Yesterday at Mass, the Gospel reading was the well-known story about the man who asked Jesus what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ answer was that not only must one follow the commandments, but one must give up his or her possessions to follow Him. He goes on to tell His disciples how those who are rich cannot enter the kingdom of God, and that those who give up everything to follow Him would one day have eternal life.
I can’t count the number of times I have heard that Gospel reading. And every time, I have always interpreted it in a literal way as meaning to give up material possessions, such as money or a nice house or that extra meal out, in order to help others. Yesterday, though, the priest discussed it and took it to a much deeper level than I ever had. He talked about how we must let go not only of material things, but also of anger, fear, grudges, judgment; anything that is holding us back from God. I had never thought of it like that, but it put things in perspective for me.
This past year, I was pretty badly burned by an organization that I’ve been actively involved with for two years now. To make a long story short, because I stood up for what was right when it wasn’t the easy choice, myself and a few others have been shunned from the organization. People have been spreading rumors about us that aren’t true, along with other unkind actions. It really hurt me, and I have been upset about it for a long time. I’m angry and shocked that people who are supposed to be my friends would do that to me, and I’m having a really hard time getting over it. It’s so easy to be mad, and to hold a grudge against them, but at the same time it sucks. I don’t like being angry; I don’t enjoy feeling so negative whenever I’m around them or thinking about everything that happened. I’ve wanted to be able to let it go for a while now, and after the Gospel and accompanying homily yesterday, I know that’s what I need to do. The priest yesterday talked about how we must clear the clutter from our path to God, and that is exactly what I need to do. It’s silly, when you think about it, to let someone else stand in the way of your relationship with God, and I don’t want to let them do that anymore.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. But I know that if I continue to pray about it and ask for God’s guidance, He will help me overcome these obstacles. It might take some time, but He will help me to forgive the people who hurt me and to move on.
I encourage everyone to take some time to think about what obstacles are cluttering your path to God right now. How can you clear the way? I know it’s not easy, but remember that God is always there to help you out. Even if it’s just listening to you rant, He will be there. Pray to Him, asking for His grace and guidance. He will help you overcome your obstacles if you only ask. I know that will be frequenting my prayers in the coming weeks, and I’ll be sure to include a prayer for everyone in need of some obstacle-clearing.