How many of you have to travel on the Sunshine bridge on a regular basis? Did anyone face a significant detour this past Friday morning? Hopefully, this will be fixed quickly, and we can continue to drive over the sunshine bridge. However, if you have to find an alternate route around the bridge what do you turn to?
Many of us know alternate ways to go. Go down 3127 to Gramercy and cross the Veterans Memorial Bridge, or go up to the Mississippi River Bridge, or if we have the time the Plaquemine ferry. However, what happens when we are in an area we are not used to, and we hit a closed road or a detour. Would a lot of you pull out your phones and plug in the address to find your way around it?
Do you remember days when this wasn’t possible? I remember road atlases as a kid. They showed the major roads and some local streets. However, roads may change, other roads may be closed, or you may miss a turn or two and end up being lost.
Have any of you had to pull up to someone and ask for directions? Did they lead you in the right direction or did you get lost? There are a verity of ways we try and find our ways to our destinations when obstacles and detours get in our way. We may know the area well and go by instinct we may need to get directions from a phone or a map or we may have to talk to someone to help us. When we do we put our trust in these methods relying on that they will get us to where we need to go. Some are more trustworthy than others, and we want to find what is most trustworthy.
In our own lives, we can face similar situations. Things are going as normal than something happens that forces us to change our plans to take a detour or close a door to us. This can be difficult for us, and it can shake us, and we can feel lost. In these moments what do we turn to? What are those things in our lives that give us guidance, that brings us peace?
In the Gospel today, a young man comes up to Jesus look for guidance from him. We don’t know much about his life, but he has wealth and a lot of earthly possessions. However, something about Jesus causes him to want to start to follow. He goes up to Jesus and asks him one of the most important guidance questions we can all ask. “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He was a man of the faith and followed the laws of the Jewish faith from his youth. He may be like us coming to mass on a regular basis, doing our best to follow what God and his Church ask of us. However, Jesus calls him to something deeper, what he is doing is good and commendable but for him to have eternal life he has to do one more thing. “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor; then come follow me.” In this moment the man was given a choice, he could either turn and put his trust in Jesus who was offering him eternal life, or he could turn to his wealth and put his trust in his earthly possessions. Not willing to give up those possessions he couldn’t turn to the Lord and trust in him.
In our own lives there will be things that God will call us to let go. It may be something that he patiently invites us to, or it may be something that comes unexpecting in our lives. I spent time in Albany Louisiana last year, and I met people who were hurt by the floods. Some people lost everything, and they had to turn to the assistance of the Church to have a bed to sleep on, and other life necessities. That flood didn’t discriminate, no matter if you had nothing or if you had accumulated a large number of possessions, the flood took everything but what you brought with you and you had on your back. I heard one story of a family that woke up in the morning with the flood approaching the door, then just a couple hours later they had to move through waist-deep water to get out of their house. They had to take what they could throw it in a small suitcase and leave everything else behind, most of which would be destroyed by the floods. Our possessions can be a help to us but no matter how helpful they are to us, they can be taken away in a flash, and they do not eternally endure.
Wisdom, our first reading, calls us to turn to her in our lives and prefer her more than, thrones, riches, gold, priceless gems and even health and beauty. All of the things of this earth will face corruption and decay, and none will last forever, but Wisdom which comes from God can endure forever and be our help.
Finally, I think we can turn to our God, as Jesus tells us in the Gospel today. For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible. God has given us wisdom, he has given us his holy spirit, and he too has given us the Church. All these things can act in our lives as our guidance system that will help us reach eternal life.
For the next few weeks, if we are lucky or the next couple of months, people who come to this area, those who live in this area will have to take detours around the sunshine bridge. In our lives of faith, we will face challenges that call us to a change of life and force us to turn to what will guide us. Our readings today challenge us to turn to God and place our hope in what he provides and not put our trust and faith in those things that will decay. God will give us the directions we need to inherit eternal life, may we not be afraid to ask our Lord. “good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life.” Moreover, when those directions come back from our Lord may we have the courage and faith to follow them!