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