Today is Monday the 15th August, in the 20th week of Ordinary Time.
The Choir of Portsmouth Cathedral sing a setting of Psalm 42.
Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks : so longeth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God : when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?
My tears have been my meat day and night : while they daily say unto me, Where is now thy God?
Now when I think thereupon, I pour out my heart by myself : for I went with the multitude, and brought them forth into the house of God;
In the voice of praise and thanksgiving : among such as keep holy-day.
Why art thou so full of heaviness, O my soul : and why art thou so disquieted within me?
Put thy trust in God : for I will yet give him thanks for the help of his countenance.
My God, my soul is vexed within me : therefore will I remember thee concerning the land of Jordan, and the little hill of Hermon.
One deep calleth another, because of the noise of the water-pipes : all thy waves and storms are gone over me.
The Lord hath granted his loving-kindness in the day-time : and in the night-season did I sing of him, and made my prayer unto the God of my life.
I will say unto the God of my strength, Why hast thou forgotten me : why go I thus heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?
My bones are smitten asunder as with a sword : while mine enemies that trouble me cast me in the teeth;
Namely, while they say daily unto me : Where is now thy God?
Why art thou so vexed, O my soul : and why art thou so disquieted within me?
O put thy trust in God : for I will yet thank him, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.
Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these; what do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
What a conversation this is… What’s your gut reaction to it? What do you notice after hearing it?
Imagine the facial expression of the young man as he seeks Jesus out… How is he dressed? Notice his body language… Notice how other people react to him…
The young man seems driven, ambitious, keen to get things right. Is that something you can relate to? Where are the riches of God to be found, do you think?
As you hear the passage again, notice where your sympathies lie.
Sit with these exacting words of Jesus. Another gospel account of this scene includes Jesus’ facial expression: he looked at the young man and loved him. Stay with that image a while.
Speak to the Lord - this loving God - about what has stirred in you today.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.