Do we have to give away all of our possessions in order to have eternal life? Well, it depends. For those of us who measure everything by the yardstick of our possessions and our wealth the answer is unambiguously yes. Most of us, fortunately, do not fall into that category. What then is Jesus trying to teach us in today’s gospel?
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.
Jesus wants us to consider what our treasure is. If it is only things that can be obtained through human workings, we miss his point. The treasure that Jesus wants us to desire is to do the work that glorifies the Lord. It is only through that work that we can obtain the only treasure that lasts, the gift of being in communion with the living God, the only One who is good.
Praise be our great Father in Heaven!