Monday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Gospel Mt 19:16-22

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.

Some thoughts on the Gospel

The young man in today’s Gospel Reading knows that something more is needed. He’s very confident that he has observed the commandments, but knows that he still lacks something for the gaining of eternal life. Jesus’ response aims for Heaven: “to be perfect”, the young man must sell what he has in order to give to the poor, and then he must follow Jesus.

It would not be accurate to take today’s passage as a proof that every Christian must abandon all his or her possessions. Jesus was speaking on this occasion to an individual. Individual members of the Body of Christ have different vocations, and are called in different ways.

What every Christian vocation does have in common with every other is to seek “to be perfect”. In fact, Jesus commands us elsewhere to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. That might seem an impossibly lofty goal, were we not to understand the meaning of the word “perfect”. From the Latin, it could be colloquially translated as “to become what one is”, or in other words, “to become what one is meant to be”. God “designed” each human person, and calls each human person, to spend himself in love for others, and above all, for Himself as the ineffable Other. However God may ask you to accomplish this, give thanks for His call.

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