Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity.

Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Take a moment and pray….

Loving God, Give us,

A Pure Heart, that we may see You,

A Humble Heart, that we may hear You,

A Heart of Love, that we may serve You,

A Heart of Faith, that we may abide in You. (Dag Hammarskjold)

Our meditation today is on making the difficult choice and being faithful to the choice that is made.

A young man wanted to know what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded to him by suggesting that he follows the commandments that he knew. The young man seemed to want to do more. Jesus invited him to do “one more thing”, to sell all he had and give it to the poor and choose to follow him, if he really wanted to. The young man could not make that choice (Mark 10:17-30). He went away sad because he had many possessions and he was not ready to part with them. He did not possess his wealth to give them away…his wealth had possessed him.

The question for us also is the same, whether or not we love Jesus enough to part with those things that get in the way. We are challenged to make that difficult choice: to choose wisdom rather than material wealth as Solomon did, to choose God’s life-giving word even when it costs us much, to choose the eternal rather than the immediate and the transitory…………

Our tendency is to wonder about the young man in this incident and feel sad about the choice he made. But, today, we are challenged and inspired to consider and prayerfully reflect on our own attitude toward the passing pleasures and possessions of this world.

The young man walked away from the lasting, enduring, eternal riches and hung on to the passing wealth that he already possessed. He wanted to follow, but not that much.

How about you? What is it that you called to walk away from? Do you recognize anything that you hang on to that you are called to let go?

The call to let go is not always material wealth. It is whatever is in the way of following the Lord. It is what you hang on to and it is what holds you down. It may be a situation, a habit, an idea, a group of people with whom you hang around and so on. Possessions have a way of possessing you!

Is there something that holds you down, that makes you unfree, that has taken hold of you…that you need to let go?

The young man was offered a challenge that he was not ready to accept. Peter was asked a similar question, “do you love me more than these?” He had to make that difficult choice.

The young man made his choice. Now you make yours.

Some of the listeners of Jesus were shocked at the many things that he taught and did. Many of them walked away in protest. Some of them surrendered in faith and accepted the gift Jesus offered although they did not fully understand what was offered to them as a gift. Jesus challenged his disciples, asked them whether they too were going to walk away. Peter, as always, had great wisdom and he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life”. (John 6:60-69)

Peter made his choice. Now join Peter and make your choice!

Moses challenged his people to take God’s word into their hearts, into their soul, into their daily lives. He asked his people to make the fundamental choice: life or death; blessing or curse. To choose life and blessing means that we must accept and obey the law of God and be guided by his wisdom. We must align our will to the will of God (Deuteronomy 11:18, 26-28, 32)

Pray for the wisdom of God to know his plan for you and for the courgae to align your will to His will.

Solomon was offered a choice to ask for anything that he wished. God made a promise to Solomon that he would be granted whatever he asked for. Solomon asked for Wisdom and an understanding heart. He regarded wisdom as a “priceless gem” and deemed all the riches in the world as nothing compared to wisdom. God gave him not only wisdom, but also “riches, glory and long life”, things that he did not ask for. Solomon asked for wisdom to know God’s plan and purpose and an understanding heart to govern his people (1Kings 3:11-14; Wisdom 7:7-11). It is wise to trust in the generosity of our God.

Solomon made his choice. No you make yours.

Pray for wisdom and for an understanding heart as Solomon prayed.

The first and second century Christians experienced severe persecution. Many Christians who had grown weary of being faithful to God’s word began to leave the community. They were tired and were leaving the Christian community and embracing other life-styles. A wise person wrote the letter to the Hebrews describing God’s word as having the power to penetrate the depths of the human mind and heart and to reveal who God is and what God’s will is for us. (Hebrew 4:12-13).

The author reminds the readers and us today that Gods’ word is alive and active and has the power to transform us and we are called to remain faithful even in the midst of our struggles.

The young man in the above story failed to listen to the Word and he walked away. Now you make your choice. Be attentive to God’s Word and let God’s word touch your hearts and shape and transform your life.

It is not difficult to recite a creed, but to live the Christian life is demanding and challenging and often difficult. We are called to make difficult choices.

Jesus was once asked whether only a few would be saved (Luke 13:22-30). Behind this question was the belief that only the Jews would be saved and not the gentiles. Jesus responded by telling them that entrance into the kingdom was not automatic. Membership in the Jewish community or any faith community did not guarantee entrance into the kingdom. He called them to make difficult choices and make the difficult journey….the door is narrow, he said. He himself was making his way to Jerusalem to face rejection and eventual death.

From the beginning of scriptures, we read about great men and women being called to make difficult choices and they in turn called their people to make hard choices. Moses and the prophets and finally Jesus offered people choices between life and death; way of the just and way of the wicked; good and bad; foolishness and wisdom, way of the world and way of the Kingdom and so on.

Jesus challenges us to today make difficult choices, make the difficult journey, walk the path of trials, face testing times, enter through the narrow door………

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs