Examine what prevents intimacy with Christ, Pope says

Vatican City, May 29, 2013 / 12:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The faithful need to examine their lives to find the “riches” that prevent them from “getting close to Jesus” like the young man who refuses to give his possessions to the poor in order to follow Christ.

Pope Francis focused his homily May 27 on the episode in the Gospel in which Jesus asks a young man to give all his riches to the poor and then follow him. However, rather than following Christ’s call, the young man goes away sad.

During his daily Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis told those present that we all have “riches” that create obstacles in our intimacy with Jesus.

One of those riches is the “culture of economic well-being which causes us to be lacking in courage” and “makes us lazy and selfish.”

For example, he said, a couple might say, “No, no, not more than one child because we will not be able to go on holiday, we will not be able to go out, we will not be able to buy a house.”

Economic well-being, the Pope said, “deprives us…of the courage we need to get close to Jesus.” This belief demonstrates the attitude that, “It’s all very well to follow the Lord, but only up to a certain point,” Pope Francis said.

Another one of the “riches” our world promotes is our “fascination with the temporary” rather than the eternal. “These two riches are the ones that, in this moment, prevent us from going forward.”

While Christ is the “Lord of time” we have become “masters of the moment,” obeying him only “up to this point.”

Rather than fixing ourselves on the temporary, we must take “definitive” steps to follow Jesus. However, often times “we like what is temporary because we are afraid of God’s time.”

Pope Francis recalled hearing about a man who wanted to become a priest, “but only for 10 years, not any longer” saying that this attitude reflects an attempt to “live for the moment.”

He contrasted this position with missionaries or men and women who have “left their homes to commit to a lifelong marriage” to one another. This, he said, is what it is “to follow Jesus closely.”

The pontiff closed by saying that even the disciples were “disconcerted” by Jesus’ requests of them, just as we often are as well.

In order to “rid ourselves” of the “riches” of “economic well-being” and “hoping in time,” we should pray to God for the “courage to go forward” to reach the “end of the journey where He awaits us.”

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