8/21/2023 (Monday) Today’s gospel reading: 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.
8/21/2023 (Monday) Today’s gospel reflection: Matthew 19:16-22
Many people would relate to the rich young man in our gospel reading above. They think they are already good because they don’t do anything evil. Yet, Jesus clearly and emphatically says that no one is really and absolutely good except God. Because of our sins, all of us fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
We commit two kinds of sin: the sin of commission and the sin of omission. While we may not have committed murder, adultery or any crime, we must have certainly omitted doing something good for God and for other people. While it is a psychological necessity to have a healthy self-esteem (feeling good about ourselves and deserving of the respect from others), it is also a Christian virtue to humble ourselves and accept that we have a lot of shortcomings especially in the area of the loving the less fortunate people. How many of us literally sold something to give it to the poor? What have we done to uplift the life of the poor? This is exactly what Jesus was telling the rich young man.
The rich young man, however, cannot let go of his possession. He might be thinking like many rich people do, “I worked hard for this. Why should I just give away to those lazy people out there?” Indeed, some people value their possessions so much as to risk losing sight of eternal life! That is why Jesus asks us in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?”
It is very clear in the gospel reading above that having lots of material possessions on earth is not enough for us to feel secure and happy. The rich young man aims to have a secure place in heaven so he approached Jesus for a way to have it. Alas, his very own worldly treasures became the hindrance for him to get what he really wants, that is, eternal life.