In today’s gospel Jesus tells a rich young man to go and sell everything he has, give the money to the poor, and then come back and follow him. Jesus never challenged Peter or the other disciples in this way. Peter kept his house, his boat and other possessions. Why did Jesus so challenge this man and nobody else? This text illustrates the difference between God’s general word for everyone to follow (i.e., to love God and love one’s neighbor) and God’s specific word for an individual. The riches and possessions on which the young man relied were, in his case, the primary obstacle in the way of his experiencing peace with God and within himself. It wasn’t the same for Peter, for whom the major obstacle may have been his impulsiveness responding to situations without sufficient reflection seeking counsel from the Holy Spirit. What objects, activities, or habits in your life constitute possible obstacles that impede you from experiencing total peace with God and within yourself?
The author of today’s first reading had prayed for the gift of prudence and received in addition the gift of wisdom. Prudence, being sensible as to the appropriate thing to do or say, is associated with wisdom, the ability to make good decisions. When prudence accompanies wisdom, a person can more clearly recognize and choose the will of God and, so doing, experience the peace with God and within oneself that the rich young man in the gospel was seeking.