A rich young man of the ruling class who owned a lot of property runs up to Jesus. He was very influential and a person of authority, moral and kept the commandments and probably very devout. The young man asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. Jesus responds: “Keep the commandments”. The young man asks: “Which ones?” (Matthew 19:18)
And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 (Matthew 19: 18-20).
It is interesting to note that these commandments pertain to our relationships with others. The young man replies: “All these things I have kept, what am I still lacking?” (Mathew 19:21) We know Jesus answer next: “Go sell what you and give to the poor and come follow me.” (Matthew 19:22)
The young man went away grieving because he could not give up his love for possessions and earthly treasures.
There are many of us who could sound like the wealthy young man. We have observed the commandments most of our lives, gone to mass frequently and put our envelope in the collection basket. The young man asks Jesus what he is lacking. He knew that something was missing in his life, but he couldn’t quite identify that missing element. This gospel challenges us to take a few moments today and talk to Jesus about what might be missing or lacking in our spiritual life. Like the young man, do we need to do more for the poor and vulnerable in our communities? Are we lacking a daily prayer life or have we elderly relatives in nursing homes whom we never visit? Try and figure out what more we can do to gain eternal life and then put together a plan to do it.
Lord, today help me to discern what I am lacking and give me the grace and strength to go and do it.
Carl Middleton is a theologian/ethicist and a member of the Passionist Family.
*Biblical quotes have been taken from https://thebiblesays.com/about/ and some elements adapted from the same source.