Posted by: frburke23 | August 18, 2014

Thought for Monday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

The rich young man came to Jesus with the good intention of wanting to follow Jesus and live eternally in heaven.  I think deep down we all have this same good intention.  The young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to get to heaven, but he was not ready for the answer.  Jesus begins by telling him that he needs to follow the commandments, which are all about loving God and loving neighbor.

The rich young man was excited because he was already keeping the commandments.  But he sensed that there was still something more.  Something in his heart made him ask the question, “What do I still lack?”  We all have had that experience that tells us that there is something more to life than what we are experiencing.  We usually know when we are holding something back from the Lord, especially if our consciences are well-formed.

Jesus responds to him by saying, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”

Do I wish to be perfect?  We all know that perfection is impossible on this side of heaven, yet we are all called to be saints.  Our goal is union with God, who is PERFECTION itself.  If we want to unite ourselves with God, we are called to rid ourselves of all the things that keep us from loving God totally. 

I don’t think that Jesus is necessarily calling us all to sell everything we have and give it to the poor, but I do think that He is calling us to take inventory of what keeps us from loving God with our whole heart, mind and soul.  This could be material things…  This could be a job…  This could be a disordered relationship…  This could be pride…

I remember when I came back from my Bolivian mission trip in 2005.  I realized that I had a lot of “stuff” that was unnecessary.  I literally went through my closet and storage and gave away many things.  That was very freeing for me.

Other times I realize that I am focusing too much on my friends and not on my relationship with God.  Friends are wonderful, but no one should come before our relationship with God.

What is keeping me from loving God with my whole being?  When we figure this out, go and sell it, get rid of it, or put it in the right order of priority, and follow Jesus completely…  This is how to reach perfection in the eyes of God – giving Him our everything.  Surrender everything to Jesus – your will, your desires, your very life.  And when we do that, we will not go away sad.  We actually find out life when we give it away.  We will rejoice with Him in this life and in the life to come.

Have a great day

Fr. Burke





  1. Hi, Fr. Burke,
    This Gospel and your comments are convicting/encouraging to me. I so appreciate that you provide specific examples from your own life which help me identify those things about which the Lord is speaking to me.
    Thank you!

  2. A blessed reflection for today and what I call a “Godincidence”, as the kids and I purged closets, cleaned and reordered to prepare the way for a blessed new school year. I enjoy your blog and will share this with my boys :))) +*+*+

  3. What is keeping me from Loving God with my whole being, in my case my wife of 14 years is a very big obstacle of me at least practicing my faith with my whole being. I have two young girls 10 and 7 and one of my biggest priorities in life is doing my best to raise them in Catholic Faith. I have been married for 14 years, for the first 13 my wife and I have been Convenient Catholics via going to church when it was convenient and following the teachings of the catholic church that we believed but certainly not all of them. After coming near divorce several times I was ready to give in. However, a book I read, a Call to Joy, Living in the presence of the God by Matthew Kelly led me to praying on my decision. For the first time in my life I felt that I really made a connection to the Lord that happened slowly but surely over several months. Through various venues, bible study, Father John Ricardo podcasts, EWTN, Holy Spirit Radio, and ultimately going to confession for the first time in about 13 years led me a rediscovery of my Catholic Faith. Now I long for Mass, pray daily and I am a changing person try to rid myself of habits that were certainly not helping me be the best version of myself. Unfortunately, my wife is wondering what happened to me and is not sure what to think, but she although a Catholic is a non practicing Catholic who is very anti against some of their teachings.
    so as not to ramble on, I know that my new outlook on life is taken her by surprise but its been nearly a year and the deeper I grow in my faith the more she appears to resent it and creates tension.
    Unfortunately, I feel that this is a cross that I have to endure and hope that the Holy Spirit will someday break through to her and help her find her faith.

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