MONDAY, TWENTIETH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Jgs 2:11-19; Ps 106:34-40, 43-44; Mt 19:16-22
GIVING UP ALL TO GAIN ETERNAL LIFE
In the Gospel we have the encounter between Jesus and the rich young man, which moves into a discussion about possessions and the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew ‘eternal life’ is synonymous with ‘entering the Kingdom of Heaven and ‘being saved’. The rich young man claimed to be righteous, and so wanted to know what he had to do to be guaranteed eternal life. He thought the kingdom could be earned by good deeds and actions. Jesus’ response was designed to probe how righteous he actually was. Did he obey the letter of the law only, or the spirit as well? By this Jesus wanted to show him the true way to eternal life. The real source of goodness is inside us, although, of course, it will flow out to the exterior.
Jesus mentions just five of the commandments, all touching on relationships with other people. And he adds, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” When the young man was not satisfied with this answer, then Jesus invites him for a total renunciation in order to have a genuine love of God and neighbour
Jesus simply shifts the attention from doing to being. He makes a little inquiry into his personal and spiritual life. One thing kept him from giving himself whole-heartedly to God. While he lacked nothing in material goods, he was nonetheless possessive of what he had. Why did he go away from Jesus with sadness rather than with joy? His treasure and his hope for happiness were misplaced. Clearly he was not yet ready for an unconditional following of Jesus.
The Lord himself is the greatest treasure we can have. Giving up everything else to have the Lord as our treasure is not sorrowful, but the greatest joy. Those who are generous towards God and others find that they cannot out-give God in generosity. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from seeking true joy with Jesus?
Response: O Lord, remember us with the favour you show to your people.
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