Monday, August 19, 2013

Discernment: "Teacher, what good must I do..." (Mt. 19:16)

In today’s Gospel, Mt 19: 16-22, the rich young man, who faithfully obeyed all of the commandments, approaches Jesus, wanting to know what more he has to do to gain eternal life. He is engaged in a form of discernment. The first part of discernment is knowing that something is missing. He doesn’t know how to get rid of that nagging feeling that leaves him with a sense of emptiness, of not doing enough. So he goes to Jesus and says: “Teacher, what good must I do...?” Jesus responds with His own question: “Why do you ask me about the good?” There is only One who is good….” What a statement to a rich young man who perceives himself as a very good man, as one who has kept all of the commandments, has made a good life for himself, has rightfully gained a lot of wealth. He is doing well, very well. He can be truly proud of himself so why this restlessness and why does Jesus say “only One…is good”? The rich young man is in a very good place spiritually in that he recognizes that something is missing and has made the right move by approaching the Lord. He’s gone to the right person. Jesus recognizes that there is something here that is laudable and upon which another kind of wealth can be realized, that of selling everything, detaching oneself from what is one’s own, and following Jesus unreservedly. No matter to which vocation in life God calls you—religious life, priesthood, marriage, the single life—you, too are called to follow Jesus unreservedly. To what might you be attached that blocks that giving of your all to the Lord and following His way as a religious, a married person, a single person, a priest?

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