Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Stephen of Hungary—(C.975-+1038) Patron Saint of Masons, Stonecutters, and Bricklayers
Book of Judges 2:11-19, Psalm 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43, 44, & Matthew 19:16-22
In today's Gospel narrative, we continue the theme 'Do what is right and avoid temptation.' A man comes to Jesus wanting to do what is correct. He wants to live a good religious life and asks our Lord how to accomplish this. A reasonable question. Jesus tells him what the Israelites were told: keep the Commandments and worship God. The young man says he is doing that already. However, this man wants to be extra assured that he will get into heaven—He wants to have the inside track. Beyond the Commandments, what can he do to ensure his place in heaven? Jesus tells him to sell all he has and give it to the poor, then to follow Him as a disciple. If he gives his earthly possessions to the poor, he will have greater treasure in heaven. The man cannot do that because he has collected many possessions. So, in the end, he cannot give up what he perceives to be certainty for uncertainty.
We have learned that following God is a simple process; worship God and follow the Commandments. We are to be always about God. As a result, the process becomes more difficult. The world is full of temptations; even the Israelites were tempted to follow false gods. Many things distract us, get in the way, and take us away from God. The man in the Gospel set his possessions before God. I believe that most of us have few difficulties obeying the Commandments; however, giving up all we have to follow Jesus is difficult. Are we, too, like the young man in today's Gospel? Will all our numerous possessions make us walk away from Jesus and threaten our road to the heavenly kingdom?
I believe our Lord desires us not to ignore the poor and be aware of all those in need. When we contribute our time, talent, and treasure to aid others, we never walk away from Jesus empty.
Question of the Day: How will you choose God over worldly distractions?
Prayer: "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."