Liturgical day: Monday 20th in Ordinary Time
Gospel text (Mt 19,16-22): A young man approached him and asked, «Master, what good work must I do to receive eternal life?». Jesus answered, «Why do you ask me about what is good? Only one is Good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments». The young man said, «Which commandments?». Jesus replied, «Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself». The young man said to him, «I have kept all these commandments, what is still lacking?». Jesus answered, «If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all that you possess and give the money to the poor and you will become the owner of a treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me». On hearing this answer, the young man went away sad for he was a man of great wealth.
«What good work must I do to receive eternal life?»
Fr. Óscar MAIXÉ i Altés
Today, the liturgy of the Word submits to our consideration the famous passage of the rich young man, that young man that did not succeed in reacting to the eye-beaming look Jesus Christ cast at him (cf. Mk 10:21). John Paul II reminds us that we can recognize in that young man all those that approach Jesus Christ by asking him about the meaning of their own lives: «Master, what good work must I do to receive eternal life?» (Mt 19:16). His Holiness comments that «Jesus’ interlocutor feels there is a connection between the moral sense and the fulfillment of his own destiny».
Today, too, how many ask themselves that same question! If we look around us, we may think there are not that many who can see beyond, or, perhaps, that the 21st century man does not need that type of questions, being the answers are no good enough for him.
Jesus answers him: «Why do you ask me about what is good? Only one is Good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments» (Mt 19:17). It is not only quite legitimate to wonder about the beyond, about the meaning of life, but… we must do it! The young man has asked what he must do to receive eternal life, and Jesus Christ has answered that he must be good.
For some, or for many —it does not really matter— now a days it may seem impossible “to be good”… Or it may seem something with little sense: a piece of nonsense, in fact! But, today, as well as twenty centuries ago, Jesus Christ keeps on reminding us that to enter eternal life we must keep the Commandments of the Law of God: it is not the “A” mark we can aim to, but the only way for us to resemble God so that we may enter in the eternal life hand in hand with our Father-God. Actually, «Jesus teaches us that the commandments are not to be understood as a minimum limit we should not exceed, but rather as an open path leading to a moral and spiritual way of perfection, whose most intimate impulse is love» (John Paul II).