As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
We rejoice here in the Diocese of Joliet with five new priests ordained on Saturday. It was a wonderful celebration! We now have 5 new men to consecrate the Eucharist, hear confessions and bring the presence of Jesus into a world so in need.
There is a great deal involved in this gospel passage. Jesus is asked, “What must I do to enter eternal life?” This is a question that we all would like to ask the Lord.
There has been some controversy regarding Jesus’ answer, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” Some claim this is proof that Jesus was not God. However, we can read this in another way. Jesus could be questioning the young man as to how he knew that Jesus was God. God alone is good – how did you know that was me?
Then Jesus begins to answer the question of gaining eternal life by listing the Ten Commandments. These are the basics. Jesus wants us to begin by turning away from sin in our lives. The man was excited because he had kept the commandments. Can you say that you are keeping the commandments of God?
Then Jesus looked upon the man, loved him…. Notice, that Jesus loved the man. This is so important – Jesus always looks lovingly upon us and invites us to deeper intimacy with Him. His love is transformative. Let Him love you.
Then Jesus raised the bar. He asked the man to sell everything he had, give everything to the poor and come follow Him. The man’s face dropped because he was not willing to sell everything because he had many possessions. After asking the man to cut sin out of his life, Jesus asked Him to strive for perfection and give everything away for God. How would I respond to Jesus’ invitation to sell everything for His sake?
Jesus says that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God if the wealth possesses them. It doesn’t mean that we literally have to get rid of all of our possessions, but if our material things keep us from giving our hearts completely to God, then we have a problem.
If Jesus tells you today, “Go sell everything you have and follow me,” how would you respond? What is the first material possession that comes to mind that you are not willing to sell or give away? What is indispensable in your life? If we are filled with something else, there is no room for God.
Do I trust the Lord? He promises that all things are possible with Him. He can change our hearts, our desires, our attachments and our sinfulness. Allow your heart to be free by releasing your attachment to the things of this world. Surrender your heart to Jesus and He will provide for you. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all other things will be added unto you.”
Many in our culture have become minimalists. We might ask Jesus today, “What is the minimum that I have to do to get to heaven?” Christianity is not about being a minimalist; it is about giving everything. Jesus tells us that if we want to save our lives we should give it away. How generous am I with my time, talent and treasure? What keeps me from laying down everything for the Lord?
Have a blessed day!