28th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 11th October 2015

Fill Us with Your Love, O Lord

In today's responsorial psalm we ask for many things from God including knowledge, wisdom, pity, joy, favour and success, but most especially we pray for God's love because this is the source of all other gifts. Our response is: "Fill us with your love, O Lord, that we may rejoice”.

In the Gospel we read that Jesus looked steadily at the young man and loved him. We can imagine Jesus’ loving searching gaze which went deep into the man’s being. And what Jesus saw, he liked - he saw the potential to do more: to become more. However, to do this, the young man needed to free himself to follow Jesus and to do that would mean giving away all the riches.

The young man cannot make that decision. We do not know what became of him. There is a huge contrast between the loving and inviting face of Jesus and that of the rich man's face ... his face fell at these words and he went away sad. It is as if he was no longer human but the faceless possessor of material goods.

Note it was not necessary for the young man to ask for God’s love. The problem is never with God's willingness to bestow love and favour upon us. The problem is that, like the rich young man, we can turn our back on that love and walk away sad. We can fail to recognise the many occasions in which the favour of the Lord is offered to us.

We pray, 'fill us with you love, O Lord', but for this to happen we must empty ourselves of passing realities to which we have too great an attachment. If the cup is full, nothing more can be poured into it. Jesus recognised that the rich young man was too dependent on his wealth and possessions. He would have to let go of them in order to allow the love of God to fill his being.

'Who then can be saved?' 'For men it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.'

The first truth about being saved is that it is a gift of God's kindness. It is not something that we merit, earn or deserve.

But the second truth about salvation is that God's kind gift must be accepted with human co-operation.

Of what must we empty ourselves if we are to be filled with God's love? Are we willing to pay the price?

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.