"Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"

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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.  

I wonder how difficult it would be for a friar to trade in his friars habit to wear the finest Saville Row suit? Can poverty be a possession just as damaging as the lifestyles of the rich and famous? Can someone really inherit eternal life simply by giving away a few things and dressing like a bum? Part of the young mans problem was that he had many valuable objects which he was attached to and could not part with. The other part of his problem was that he did not recognize the value of what he had ,and no one could profit from it because he did not know how to share them. Was there not value in his desire for eternal life, to live a life for God? Most people would have been satisfied if they could just follow the commandments this man followed, and he still wished to improve his relationship with God.Value? Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,sell what you have and give to the poor.” He had a devout life, and he could have offered that to those who don’t. Maybe he didn’t recognize that sinners were poor, no matter how many possessions (riches) they had, and holy devout people were the riches in the world even if dressed like bums. Sure, the man had a problem with material goods because he still placed a little to much value in them. He also had a problem because he could not place an equal value on spiritual goods, the treasures of heaven he possessed. He could not see a rich man in poverty, a poor man filled with the treasures of heaven; he did not see the treasures of heaven here on earth. When he went away, I wonder what he did? Did he begin to loose some of those material things, or did he begin to hoard even more heavenly treasure?

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