What Possessed You?

‘Just what possessed you?’ Each of us has heard that question in some form when we have done something that undermined our health, our happiness or our relationships. We have probably asked ourselves that question often. Our best desires go in one direction, our actions undermine them. What possessed the rich man was love of his wealth and all that it brought with it: prestige, influence, power. This undermined his desire for the Kingdom of God, the greatest true wealth.  

Each of us has something that ‘possesses’ us and undermines our desire to be true followers of Jesus. It is not necessarily wealth. It can be the desire for comfort, for pleasure, for attention. It could be sensuality or just sheer laziness.We can only truly discover what is undermining us by sitting in the gaze of Jesus’ love and asking, ‘What does God desire of me? For what have I been created?’ 

 In hearing his answer, we will realise what we have to give up – and it will be personal to each – and it will probably appear to be something good. It is dangerous for us because it tempts us to rely on our own resources and not on the love of God for our self-fulfilment.  

Dealing with it will not be easy. In fact, we cannot do it. This is the crack in our heart, the flaw in our nature, the weakness over which we have no control. But it is also the crack that lets God’s grace in, the flaw that opens us to the divine nature, the weakness that draws down the compassionate love of God. 

 Adapted Pray As You Can

What should we do?

Being cooped up in the house as a child was more challenging to my mother than to my brother, sister and me. We kept chanting, “What should we do?” and my mother had to stop her work and be an activities director! Sometimes, my dad would pull a tube out of our TV and we cried, “What should we do?”  He forced us to find something to do inside that was as interesting and as wide open as the outdoors. “What should we do?” has a set of expectations – if what we do is to be satisfying, it must fulfill our expectations and involve more than what we are doing right now.

In our Gospel today, the same question is asked.  And John’s answer doesn’t focus on accomplishments, rather, on relationships. The good news preached by John  is that our relationship with others makes visible our relationship with Jesus.

Just like John, our lives are about others. John turns the question into “How shall we be?” We are called to be the presence of Christ in the world.  We are called to be just and loving toward each other.  Or still yet, the question is replaced by “Who shall we be?” We are called to be Christ for each other.