Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edge sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
Truer words were never written. The word of God is living and it cuts to the quick. The word of God makes us think and causes consternation. The word of God, when taken to heart, penetrates our very being.
Yet how often do we choose to ignore God’s word in our lives? It is easier to let God’s message go in one ear and out the other. We may pay attention at Mass, but then promptly forget about the message for the rest of the week. We may even proclaim God’s word and quote scripture, but then fail to practice what we’ve spoken. However, at some point, God’s word penetrates and reminds us of who we are and who we are called to be.
This month is respect life month. Last week was respect life Sunday. This weekend we are collecting blood. Next week is Mission Sunday and the following weekend is Priesthood Sunday. The Church invites us to reflect upon the preciousness of life in its many forms and expressions. Not only are we to respect life and nurture it, we are called to be people who promote God’s word even when that word is challenging or uncomfortable for us or for others.
The reason the young man went away from Jesus in the Gospel of Mark (10:17-30) is because he did not want to abandon what made him comfortable. He was afraid of embracing the unknown. He was fearful of being vulnerable. Possessions do that for us: they isolate us from the unknown. They make us feel good about ourselves. They give us a sense of security. When we have little, we may feel more “naked” to others because all we have to offer is ourselves. However, isn’t that what each of us is called to do? Offer ourselves as a gift to other people?
It may be easy to host a dinner party or give someone a gift. But do we find the same level of comfort when all we can offer to another is me, myself, and I? When two people marry, they give themselves to each other as a gift: warts and all. They become vulnerable to the other out of love. That’s what God’s word invites us to do: become vulnerable and open to the other person out of love.
God’s word is effective because it breaks down barriers and invites us to wisdom. It calls us to see the world from God’s perspective. God’s word challenges us to reflect upon the original blessing that was offered to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: friendship with God. Ultimately, this is what life is all about—relationship with God and relationships with others. When we sacrifice our money, possessions, attitudes, and opinions in order to be vulnerable before others and God, we find that our relationships will grow and develop.
Each of us has been offered salvation. May we respond to that gift with love and generosity by hearing God’s word and putting it into practice.