"You are lacking in one thing....”
Gospel of Saint Mark
MOST of us are familiar with today’s Gospel. A rich young man asks Jesus how he can attain eternal life. Jesus responds with the commandments and the young man reacts with I have been doing all the. And Jesus says those words. And the young man is dismayed because he is rich.
Aren’t all our lives like that? We all lack one thing as we journey. There is always something that stands in the way. Some sort of mountain that seems unsurmountable, a chasm too wide, a problem too complicated, a habit too strong. It could be anything. We get possessed by our possessions. Our jobs run us instead of us running our jobs. We live to work and not work to live. We forget what is right believe, what is convenient and pleasurable. We feed our egos and not our souls. We get lost in the road signs pointing us to the right paths.
But really when we ask that question to ourselves we might get terrified because of the truth. What is that we lack to enter the kingdom of God. Perhaps the answer to that lies in a more specific reflection. What is that we cannot let go to enter heaven? That would be a lot easier to answer.
What can you not give up? What will you exchange your eternal life for? When you look at life today that is such an easy answer. Some people would give up their eternity for wealth, for power, for titles, for positions, for practically anything. People have sold their souls for lesser things. We all have that certain thing that is so difficult to let go of. And we defy everything, ignore everything, justify everything, deceive and manipulate, lie to the teeth just so we can possess that which possesses us with such a maddening ever-tightening grip. And the irony is we think this will free us. It may give us temporary relief and even pleasure but it is fleeting. All things pass, only your deeds remain forevermore. And these are the things that all of us carry. To paraphrase a famous actor there is no storage van behind the hearse that carries your corpse. You cannot take them with you. All of us will be alone in that journey and the only things that will accompany us are the deeds and the decisions that we have made. No title will save us.
So we need to ask, what can we not let go of? What is the thing that we hold on so dear that we exchange it for the eternal salvation of our souls? What is it that we lack?
Perhaps the one thing lacking is the letting go. To be truly free.