Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
August 17 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43ab and 44
A reflection on today's Scripture:
What do I still lack? (see Matthew 19:20)
Often we're given this story of the young man as a story of the love of wealth and how difficult it would be for a wealthy person to get into heaven. And certainly Jesus Himself points this out to us. What we don't notice is how wrong the first question the young man asks is. "What good must I do to gain eternal life?"
While the question is well intentioned, it still misses the mark. The center of the question is still the questioner, and perhaps that is why Jesus knows to put this hardest challenge to him.
There is nothing wrong with seeking after eternal life, but it is not the greatest good in terms of attitude. The greatest good does not start with this question -- it starts with another which is supplied by God's Holy Word and tested by the command Jesus gives to the young man.
In the ancient prayer of Israel, the Shema, taken from the book of Deuteronomy, we are told that it is best for us when we "Love God with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself."
The right question is, "How do I learn to love God in this way and so enter eternal life to continue in this love?" And the answer is as Jesus implied in His command -- give up every other lesser love, abandon all desire for good things and desire only the One Good, and we'll find the path.
This sounds hard, but it is made easier by the Holy Spirit who helps us and by training the will to think always first of God and His glory and only second of our own desire.
This is how we "sell all we have and give it to the poor." When we serve with the love of God foremost in our hearts, we have met the need Jesus articulates. And we must do this day by day, for each day we have a new chance to "sell all we have and give it to the poor." And day by day, if grace is there, the Holy Spirit supports this action.
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Monday, August 17, 2009
Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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