“There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.” ~Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Monday, August 17, 2015 ~ Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Matthew 19:16-22 A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Meditation: The young man who apparently had the best the world could offer – money, property, a position in society – came to Jesus because lacked one thing. He wanted the kind of lasting peace and happiness which his possessions could not buy. The answer he got, however, was not what he wanted to hear. He claims to have kept all of the commandments, so he must be an honest person in worldly dealings, and he obviously was a man of faith because he approached Jesus with a legitimate question. But based on the young man’s reaction to Jesus’ response, it becomes quite obvious that there is one thing that impeded the young man from giving himself wholeheartedly to God – his love of his possessions. While he lacked nothing in terms of material goods, he was possessive of what he had, and placed his hope and security in his possessions. That is why he became sad when Jesus challenged him to make God his one true possession and treasure, instead of his earthly possessions. Which begs the question – are you willing to part with your possessions in order to seek and attain everlasting joy with Jesus?
Prayer: O God, who have prepared for those who love you good things which no eye can see, fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love, so that, loving you in all things and above all things, we may attain your promises, which surpass every human desire. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: A very wise, faithful and holy priest I came to know in seminary once told us that one measure of our love for Christ, in comparison to anything else, is our attitude – do I want to spend time with Christ, do I desire from the heart to spend time with Christ, versus do I have to spend my time with Christ. The latter being the negative approach, like a child told to clean his or her room when they want to go out and play – “do I have to do this” versus wanting to do it. Apply this to Sunday Mass – do you desire to go to Mass, or do you go to Mass simply because you have to? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of personal will, desire and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. Jesus himself is the greatest treasure we can possibly have. Giving up everything else to have the Lord as our treasure is not sorrowful, but the greatest joy.