The word of God is living and effective (Heb 4, 12)
Jesus loves us so much he challenges us to be all that we can be with his help.
He looks with love at the rich man who has affirmed his observance of the commandments from his youth. He does not want this person, who basically seeks to know what works he has to perform to inherit eternal life, to be lacking in what one cannot do without to enter the kingdom of God.
What is indispensable is discipleship, conscious (as in St. Vincent de Paul’s case) or unconscious (as in the case of those who ask, “When did we see you a stranger and welcome you?”). The Word of God, sharp and penetrating, discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart, exemplifies for us perfect observance.
To follow the poor Jesus means, first of all, not to withhold from God our complete trust as we cling to things that can never save. We who have been catechized quite well about the eternal punishment of hell and now worry with fear and trembling about our salvation cannot even rely on our conscientious keeping of the commandments. For, indeed, it is impossible for the world to save us or for us to save ourselves. Salvation is the work of God, before whom human goodness pales in comparison; he grants salvation to those who, preferring it to scepter, throne and wealth, pray to him for it.
Hence, everything worldly or human—riches, rank, position, prestige, privilege, supposed accumulated merits due to our good works—that gives us a false sense of security, and from which we refuse to be detached, is simply excess baggage. Such baggage stops us from putting our complete trust in God and makes it exceedingly difficult for us to enter the kingdom of God.
The only necessary equipment is Jesus’ easy yoke, his light burden, which consists in seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. If we really keep learning from the one who is meek and humble of heart, we will find ourselves free from suffocating worries and assured of everything that will be given to us a hundred times, though with persecutions.
And those who trust completely in the Lord do not despair even when they are persecuted and helpless. They know for certain, as St. Vincent de Paul says, that they are always under the protection of God (CRCM II:2). In the end, they will say what Jesus said when he was about to consummate his handing over his life for us, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Loving as Jesus did until death, and dying with him and persevering, they will live and reign with him. That is to say, they get to be all that they can be.
Lord, fill us with all your fullness.