Is it any consoling to hear the Lord tell us today in the gospel (Mk. 10), that it is hard to enter the Kingdom of heaven? He said this twice, first referring to the rich and second, referring to all in general.
But Jesus came to this teaching after witnessing the spiritual journey of a young man who approached him. Clearly the man had eagerness for the kingdom of God. He was asking about it. He was absorbed the thought of it.
The man also clearly had enthusiasm for the kingdom. He was burning with zeal to attain eternal life. He invested much in following the commandments, as he later admits to the Lord.
But the Lord explains that interest and zeal are not enough. Desiring heaven and following precepts given by others are not enough. Jesus challenged the young man to stretch his efforts, to expand his heart, to be more energetic and creative in pursuing his dream. Sell everything, give everything away… that is the secret the Lord reveals.
The Lord Jesus warns us against minimalism. In the religious landscape today we settle for the minimum requirements. The born-again Christian says: it is enough to accept Jesus and Lord and Savior. The Protestant says: as long as you have faith and as you have the Bible, you are saved. The Catholic says: follow the voice of the church and you are on the right path.  Do we now hear the Lord say: it is not enough to be religious or spiritual. Stretch out your hand and help others. Open your heart and embrace those around you.
In the practical plane, the student studies before finals, conscious of the passing grade. The husband aims to provide the material needs of the family. The employee submitst the required accomplishments on time. Do we now hear the Lord say: study for life, not for grades; be a loving person and not just a responsible provider; go beyond work and transfrom the environment at work.
The saints were people who understood what the Lord says in today’s Gospel. They added to their desire and to their efforts, the application of all their heart and soul. They reached further out; they stretched as much they could; they strived towards heaven not as a pursuit but as a joyful adventure.
Lord, give me the grace to enter the kingdom one day…