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Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Ez. 24:15-24 & Mt.19:16-22

When God spoke to Ezekiel in today's Old Testament passage, it was to tell him some sad news. His beloved wife, the delight of his eyes, was to die suddenly. This message must have been very hard for Ezekiel to accept but God told him that he must not weep for her, but simply carry on his ordinary everyday life, eating and dressing as usual.

How was Ezekiel able to do this? Obviously he loved his wife, but he loved God first and was willing to do what God asked of him.

The young man in the Gospel also loved God. He had kept all the commandments and was doing his best to live a good life, but he knew in his heart that there must be something more. He asked Jesus, “What must I do to possess eternal life?” The reply he received made him very sad, for like Ezekiel he was being asked to give up the delight of his eyes, his most precious possessions.

Unlike Ezekiel he was not prepared to give up his wealth. His riches meant more to him than the treasure in Heaven which Jesus was offering him. The young man sincerely wanted to be closer to God, but Jesus knew that there was just one obstacle, his attachment to wealth. Unfortunately, he was could not give it up.

If we were to ask Jesus the same question today, I wonder what His answer would be. What is the “delight of our eyes”, the one precious thing which comes between us and God? Perhaps it is a person, a relationship which God does not want us to pursue, and which we are not prepared to give up. It may be an addiction, such as drugs, alcohol or gambling. We know that this attachment is an obstacle between us and God, but we cannot find the strength to remove it. For some of us, the obstacle may be the excessive amount of time we give to our work, leaving us no time to pray, to read the Bible, to say the Rosary, to visit the Blessed Sacrament, or is it because we are reluctant to curtail the hobbies and leisure activities we enjoy? God has given us many good things, in which we rightly take delight; but God Himself must be our chief delight.

Lord Jesus, help us let go of whatever comes between us and our heavenly Father, that we might truly know Him, love Him and serve Him in this word, to be happy with Him in the next.

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