Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Judges 2:11-19; Matthew 19:16-22)
Many prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation by reviewing the Ten Commandments. Understanding that these commandments imply a way of life much more involved than the eight prohibitions and two obligations that meet the eye, they can make a worthy confession. However, they should keep in mind as well that God will have a specific command for each of them to do. In today’s gospel we hear of Jesus’ radical call to the young man who inquires about eternal life.
The episode begins on a note of defiance. The man calls Jesus “Teacher,” an appellative which he will forbid his disciples to use. Then the man seems to continue insolently as he pictures eternal life as a personal accomplishment, not a gift from God. He asks, “… what must I do” to attain it. Still Jesus most likely does not mean to dismiss the man by proposing an impossible mission. More likely, he sees in the man’s earnestness a spirit that can find happiness in the rigorous life of a disciple. However, the man decides not to accept the challenge. As in many cases, he is deterred from doing the Lord’s will by the prospect of losing money.
We too should approach Jesus with the question of eternal life. He is likely to be demanding of us as well, but we should not recoil in fear. Rather let us be assured that Jesus will never demand more of us than we can accomplish and will assist us in the quest at each step.