In the gospel for today's liturgy, we encounter again a reminder of the challenge that exists for so many of our brother and sister Christians: the sense the we have to accumulate in order to be who we think we should be.
An Irish Jesuit tells the following story to illustrate what true love, the willingness to give to others, to desire to share what has been given to us.
A rich man was concerned about his future salvation, would he ‘go to heaven’ or not. In order to motivate him, he asked God to be given a preview of heaven and hell. God agreed. God said that they would first pay a visit to hell. When they got there the man was greatly surprised. He was brought into a sumptuous dining room of a large Chinese restaurant all decorated in red and gold. In the centre was a large round table and on it were the most exotic and delicious dishes one could imagine. Around the table were seated the diners. They were the most miserable-looking group one could imagine, all sitting there motionless and in silence just looking at the beautiful food in front of them. The reason for their glumness was that they had been given chopsticks which were three feet long! There was no way they could get any of the food into their mouths. And they were going to sit there like that for eternity. That was hell!
God then brought the man to heaven. Again he was amazed. Because they were in an identical Chinese banqueting room, with the same kind of table and the same wonderful food. But everybody was in the highest spirits. The sound of laughter rang out everywhere. They were really enjoying themselves and the meal. Was this because they had the normal length of chopsticks? No! They also had three-foot chopsticks but here everyone was reaching out food to people on the opposite side of the table. And that was heaven.
Perhaps this will help us to reflect upon our own journey to the promised land.