Monday, August 17, 2015

Reflection: Matthew 19:16-22

Monday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time: Matthew 19:16-22

Today we hear the account of the young man who came to Jesus asked him: “What must I do to gain eternal life?” As we know, Jesus does not answer the young man’s question. Rather Jesus says to him: “Why you do ask me? There is only One who is good.” He then tells the man that if he wants to enter eternal life, he should keep the commandments.

To his surprise, the young man told Jesus that he already was observing these laws. The young man wanted to know what else he could do. He asks Jesus: “What do I still lack?” Jesus surprised the young man with his answer. He told the man: “If you truly wish to be perfect, sell everything you own and give it to the poor. If you do this, you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” The young man was dismayed, troubled and sad. He had many possessions. He simply could not fathom the thought of giving away all his treasures and possessions. The young man turned and sadly walked away from Jesus.

Ask yourself: how would you respond if Jesus asked you (and me) to sell all that we own and give it to the people in need? Would we have the inner freedom to dispossess ourselves of everything that we own? For most of us, this might seem impossible to do. After all, for years we have worked hard for what we have. Most likely, we are very willing to share from our abundance. But to give everything we have? That is too much to ask of us!

Yet if we truly wish to follow Jesus, he desires that we give our all to him. It may not mean dispossessing ourselves of everything we own. However, it most likely will require changes in our lives and in our priorities. These changes may be very stretching for us and require sacrifice. Are we truly willing to make difficult decisions and to change our lives and our lifestyle to follow Jesus?

Following Jesus sounds glorious and religious. However, it may not be as easy as we anticipate. Today ask yourself: what does it mean for you to follow Jesus? How has your life changed since you consciously decided to follow Jesus? How have you changed since you consciously made the decision to follow Jesus?

The reality is: following Jesus is not always an easy or strife-free path. At times, doing what Jesus would do stretches us far beyond our comfort zone. Will we gladly follow Jesus? Or will we turn away sad and dismayed because we are not willing to sell all we have, leave home and family to follow Jesus?

Today Jesus is asking you and me to follow him. How will we respond to him? Will we gladly follow him? Or will we walk away sad and disheartened? It is our choice!

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