USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
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.
Good News Reflection: For the sake of Love
What are you willing to give up for the sake of Love? Or, to put it another way, what are you willing to give up for the sake of Jesus? Since God is Love, it’s the same question.
In today’s Gospel reading, the rich young man walked away from Jesus, unwilling to give to others what God had given to him in abundance. He didn’t really want to be perfected spiritually.
In scripture, “perfection” doesn’t mean doing everything perfectly right all the time. It means being just like our Creator, i.e., living in a state of total and complete unconditional love. Jesus is saying, “If you want to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, love him with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, all your gifts, all your talents, all your skills, all your time, and all your possessions.”
He is not asking us to take everything we own and sell it in a yard sale, then donate the proceeds to charity. What he is telling us to do is to honor God with all we’ve got and get rid of everything that interferes with Love. The most powerful, successful way to do this is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where we get rid of everything that interferes in our union with God. The Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass and the Sacrament of the Eucharist further unites us to Love.
What are you attached to that prevents greater intimacy with God? Which of the following apply to you?
- friendships that slow or reverse your spiritual growth
- a job that contributes to your sinful weaknesses
- bad attitudes, negative mindsets
- a fascination with violence, the occult, or immoral entertainment
- the “I’ve got to be right” mentality that puts others down
- clinging to money (do you give God 10% of your income as scriptures command?)
- possessions you’re not even using that others need
- business methods that contradict God’s ways
- addictions you have not yet turned over to God the Higher Power
- disobeying a Church teaching because you don’t like it
- society’s consensus that approves of same-sex marriages and claims that the Bible is wrong about it
- (fill in the blank)
Look at what Jesus gave up for the sake of loving you:
- a carpentry business (or whatever employment he had)
- a safe, familiar home in Nazareth
- family and friends in Nazareth
- his own preferences for how to spend his time
- his freedom
- his perfect health
- his desire to avoid pain and suffering
- his life
Lord, may I not miss Your blessings because I’m clinging to my own plans and preferences. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica