Word to the Wise

Monday, August 21, 2017 - Monday in the 20th Week in Ordinary Time

[Judg 2:11-19 and Matt 19:16-22]
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. [Matthew]

 AUGUST 21  ST. PIUS X, pope


     The young man in this scene is like so many university students that I have known over the years.  He really tugs at the heart.  He has been faithful to the commandments but senses that there is something more.  He wants to know what that is, but clearly is not expecting the answer he received from Jesus.  He is attached to his "stuff."  Jesus offers him a way to "perfection" which requires complete allegiance to following Jesus, and this demand disappoints the young man who thought he could "have his cake and eat it, too."  Nevertheless, there are some who do accept the challenge.

     Each month the national magazine of the Knights of Columbus arrives with a picture on the back of someone who has responded to Jesus' offer and joined a religious order or started studies for the diocesan priesthood.  Their brief stories consistently show that they finished college and started a career which they thought would provide them with a happy life and found it empty.

      None of this is meant to downgrade the vocation of marriage and family.  I am continually inspired by the many couples whose weddings I have celebrated, whose children I have baptized.  The challenge for them is the same.  Is their life together meant simply to obtain a certain level of physical or financial security?  They often discover what the "rat race" has to offer.

     The young man was faithful to the commandments.  He would be fine at that level and one hopes that he didn't give up that fidelity.  But his allegiance was somewhat divided because of his many possessions.  Jesus offered him something more.  The same offer is made to us.  Is our allegiance divided by our "stuff?"  AMEN

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