A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 19:16-22
16 A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
17 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.”
18 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;
19 honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
20 The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
21 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.”
22 When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Reflection: what good deed must I do to have eternal life?
Good News: You will have treasure in heaven.
Everyone wants to have treasure. Who does not like money and other possessions? We need money to survive. The problem is the negative effects of having lots of money.
Saint Paul says that the root of all evil is the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10). Money by itself is not bad. It is evil only when it becomes our main focus or obsession so much so that God is set aside in our life. Indeed, some people are changed by money and other earthly treasures. As they become richer, they become greedier, more arrogant, and pleasure-seeking. They can even forget they have children in the house! Money therefore allowed them to forget God. It has in fact become their god. That is why Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
The man who approached Jesus in the gospel passage above should have been a hero. He is young and already rich. Maybe he is also tall and good-looking. All the women in his town must be dreaming to have him as a husband. Yet he felt something is missing though he thought he followed all the commandments. Isn’t this typical among the rich? Something is lacking!
Jesus provides us the answer to fill in what is lacking: detachment from worldly things, service to the needy and refocusing our life to what is eternal.
We must congratulate the rich young man for asking the right question: What must I do to gain eternal life? Unfortunately, he was not ready to accept the answer and the reason why is because he was a lover of money. So he goes home sad.
Jesus is inviting us to invest in the kind of treasure that truly gives us happiness that lasts. He is also calling us to follow him because He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). In this way, we gain treasure in heaven.
Matthew 19:16-22 Questions for Discussion or Meditation
1. What good must we do to gain eternal life? Do we really need to do something?
2. Isn’t faith enough to gain eternal life?
3. What hinders you from truly following Jesus?
4. Did you do something for the poor?
5. Do feel empty inside?