Most family holidays start off with excitement and enthusiasm. But not too long after the journey begins, the young ones start asking: “Are we there yet?” And they ask it over and over again. But with the right perspective, and the right tools, the journey can be just as enjoyable as the destination.
The rich young man was at the early part of his journey when he asked Our Lord how he could get to heaven. Am I there yet? Am I close? Look at all the good things I’ve already done. Surely it won’t be much longer. And so he eagerly asked Jesus what he still needed to do. Deep inside, he knew something was missing in his life. What he didn’t understand was that Jesus wanted to talk about the journey and not just the destination. He didn’t simply want this young man to go to heaven; he wanted him to walk in God’s presence every day. Our Lord wanted him to know the joy of developing a living relationship with his heavenly Father.
God is surely looking forward to the day when we will be with him in heaven. But at the same time, he wants to share with us the adventure of taking each and every step of the journey together. He wants to have an active relationship with us, one that forms our hearts every day and makes us more and more ready for our heavenly home. He knows that we all have a deep longing for this relationship in our hearts, because, as Saint Augustine realised, our hearts are restless until they find rest in him.
When we welcome Jesus into our lives, we begin a journey with him that changes us day after day. He teaches us not to be selfish and to be generous with the poor and needy. He fills us with purpose for our lives, and he teaches us to be content with whatever stage of the journey we may be on. And best of all, every step we take with him brings us one step closer to our heavenly destination.