What do you want?

Posted by James Hahn on

Pope Saint Pius X

Matthew 19:16-22

It is easy for me to place myself in the shoes of the rich young man in today's Gospel. Not because I am rich of course but because I too like the path of least resistance. I too want to lean on my past accomplishments and not be challenged to go the extra mile.

As always I like to focus on the repeats in the Gospel and with this passage we have the word "good" mentioned three times. When I read this repetition I am reminded that Jesus said, "Be perfect as Your Heavenly Father is perfect." He did not say, "Be good." I think Jesus is challenging the young man and me to step beyond the letter of the law. Jesus tells Him what he must do to be good and to enter eternal life.

The young man states that he has done all that Jesus mentions, but deep inside himself he knows there must be something more. Even though he is a good person and following the Law he knows deep down that God is calling him to something more, something higher than merely being good. God is calling him and me to holiness, to perfection. Why else would he ask the question, "What do I still lack?" His question about eternal life was answered. He was told by Jesus what he had to do but something inside him is not satisfied with merely following the Law.

When the young man heard the answer he was sad because he was possesed by his many possesions. He could not bear the thought of going that extra mile. Would he still enter into Heaven though he walked away sad? Yes. Would he be happy in this life because he chose to hold on to his things and let go of a deep relationship with Christ? Probably not. My degree of happiness is not often increased by following the Ten Commandments or the Precepts of the Church unless they are done out of love. My happiness is increased as I move farther away from the trappings of this life and closer to Christ.

Lord Jesus, I follow the Ten Commandments fairly well and I observe the Precepts of the Church yet I am not happy. Lord, what do I lack? Give me the strength to accept Your answer and chose You over the world.

-"In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked, lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men... All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics. Oh! if I might ask the Divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? The answer would not be doubtful: With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries. And this reproach can be levelled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries."--Pope St. Pius X, Discourse at the Beatification of St. Joan of Arc, Dec. 13, 1908

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