Monday, August 20, 2007

The rich young man

Today's Gospel is about the rich young man. He came running up to Jesus and wanted to know what he needed to do in order to gain eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. The man said that he had always kept them, and asked, "What is still lacking to me?"

What a great question that is! It's a more literal translation of the Greek text. The translation read at Mass has him asking Jesus, "What more do I need to do?" But that glosses over the point.

He's rich. He has everything, according to this world's standards. But he knows he's still lacking something. He feels a void in his heart.

Jesus tells him exactly what he did not want to hear: sell everything, give to the poor, and follow Jesus. The young man went away sad, for, the Gospel tells us, "he had many possessions."

Because he couldn't give up his material wealth, he ended up sacrificing the wealth of the spirit. If he had accepted Jesus' loving invitation, he probably would have become one of the apostles, a great saint, and been a pillar of the Church. Instead, he chose his possessions.

And I, what do I choose?

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