Fr Hugh’s Homily on Prisoner’s Sunday
There’s a story, apocryphal I hope but probably not, of a young guy applying for the priesthood to Nottingham Diocese back in the 1950s. He waited a long time and then received his own letter back with two lines through it and the one word’ Rejected.’ Jesus was much more careful about his recruiting. As we said last week, this passage is all about discipleship, and as he makes his way to Jerusalem he will happily welcome anyone to his band of followers. Of course, prospects as a disciple did not look good, (no school careers advisor would have recommended following Jesus) and from an outsiders view all they would see was a band of vagrants. Living very much hand-to-mouth, dependent on providence. So today the rich man comes bounding up, and he really is the right material for discipleship. He is a good man. He has studied and lived by the Law, and he has realised that it is not enough. ‘There must be more to it than this’ he is thinking. He has got the message that salvation is not about following a formula. So, he asks the question. Jesus clearly would love to have this man by his side. He is welcoming and the gospel makes it clear that Jesus is responding to the man’s goodness with love. (There are just a few moments in the gospels when they pick out certain people on whom Jesus gazes with love. Here: ‘he looked at his steadily and loved him.’)……..