Peter reminds us that our faith is more precious than gold, and we should always guard it. Peter also reminds us that gold is purified in fire, and gold is not destroyed by fire.
Our faith is also purified by fire–the fire of the trials and tribulations of living in a secular world where our faith is constantly being challenged by those who tell us we are out of step with the current reality.
So, if our faith is not strong, our faith can be lost; and I think we see many examples of that in those we deal with, including our own families.
So what are we to do? To me our faith is like a garden, especially in Colorado, or a friendship. If either are not tended to and nurtured they weaken and go away. Our faith is like that. It must be constantly nurtured and strengthened.
We must focus on our relationship with Jesus and his promise of eternal life through his death and resurrection. We do so by frequent reception of the Eucharist and by daily prayer, including regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Being in constant contact with Christ will help our faith to grow and become ever stronger; thus enabling us to resist the temptations of the world and its treasures.
Today’s Gospel gives us a good example. Jesus reminds the young man and us that doing the minimum is not sufficient. Our goal is to be totally immersed in Jesus.
Does that mean we should sell everything and follow Jesus. Probably not; but Jesus knew the man’s material possessions were keeping him from a total commitment. What would Jesus say to us?
Jesus must be first in our lives in all things, regardless of how many material things we have. I know Jesus came for the poor, but this reading reminds us that people with many material things can be poor spiritually, with little or no room for Jesus in their lives.
For those of you who were at the mission with Fr. George, consider when he spoke on the first commandment. He reminded us that "I" can be the worldly thing I focus on as most important. "I" am the God I worship; Jesus is not first.
So the moral of the Gospel is: We need Jesus to be number one in our lives, not just to follow the commandments.
Worldly possessions give us the false sense of security, that we are in charge, and that we can do this without Jesus. Actually, worldly possessions often drag us down, and can control us, as we see with the rich man.
We do not know what happened to this man. Jesus leaves many of his parables open ended to encourage us to know we can always change.
I close with the statement “Jesus, looked at the man and loved him”. He wanted him to change, but it was the man’s choice. Jesus also looks at us with love and wants us to change. It is our choice.
May God Bless you Always.