Homilette for Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

(Matthew 19:16-22)

A team of psychologists recently analyzed data of surveys given to college students over the last twenty years. They report that there is an increasing amount of narcissism among American youth. Although a positive self image is desirable, the psychologists claim that narcissism, which is an exaggerated self-image, often results in social pathology. Difficulty forming meaningful relationships, materialism, and greater likelihood of infidelity, substance abuse, and violence are all associated with narcissism. Is it any wonder then that contemporary marriages often fail?

The young man in the gospel demonstrates a bit of narcissism. He appears both sincere and good-hearted as he confronts Jesus. No doubt he keeps all the commandments as he says. But eternal life means following Jesus through the cross to glory. For this earnest young man the journey requires dispossessing himself of his riches. It is a price too steep to pay because the young man enjoys his wealth.

Jesus’ words test all of us. Although he does not ask most people to sell everything for the sake of the poor, he does call everyone to follow him. He wants us to reflect over the words of the gospel and to effectively act on them. Is it hard? Perhaps. But, of course, we can count on Jesus to help us with the load.