I’ve always identified with that poor/rich guy in today’s gospel who asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life. I don’t relate to his wealth, really, but to his desire for some assurance of salvation. When Jesus quotes him the price, he slinks away crestfallen, like a pauper unable to pay it. I fear if I were in his position I might act the same way. After all, if I gave away all my assets, how could I support my family? How would we get food and shelter? Is this guy who’s telling me to give everything away really God or some loony cult leader?
What REALLY scares me–even more than thinking I’m like that rich guy–is the thought I might not even have acted as honorably as he. He slunk away pitifully. I might have written Jesus off without a second thought. The fact this guy was so crestfallen shows he believed in Jesus–and therefore, I believe, was still salvageable. But that’s not me talking, that’s Jesus. Who can be saved?
“For human beings it is impossible,” Jesus said, “but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
Which means my family and I are salvageable. Not for anything we do, because there’s nothing we can do to earn a place in heaven–except pray for God’s saving grace. And maybe share our wealth of hope with other poor souls who are as desperate for salvation as we are.
As I write this it’s just after learning that our friend Lisa Kurtz Luciano just arrived at that destination we all hope for. While she was on that journey she shared her gift of hope with many others through her work with the PMP Research Foundation. Her legacy remains with us and is God’s answer to the prayer in today’s Psalm:
“Prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!”