Jesus is about to leave town. The rich young ruler has a last chance to meet Jesus face-to-face. He runs up to him and falls on his knees, in the dirt of the roadside, in his fine robes, with a question burning in his heart. We see a picture of urgency, earnestness and humility.
Responding to his deep and sincere desire Jesus’ heart was instantly filled with love for him, calling him from earthly detachment to sharing his treasures with the poor to accumulate treasures of goodness in Heaven.
It’s amazing how Jesus helps the ones whom he encounters to refocus on things that actually matter. Jesus realized that the young ruler’s desire was for eternal life. His desire was to be united with God, though his focus was on just keeping the law. Jesus should have started with the first three commandments which define our relationship with God! But Jesus focuses on caring for the other. The observance of the commandments is only the first step. We are alive here and now and eternal life begins today! We can be well with God if we know how to be well with our neighbor. The door to reach God is our neighbor.
Money isn't the only thing that Jesus asks the young man to give up: but his possessions, the means he used to earn that money, his status and influence, his power, and his leadership position. The rich man does not accept Jesus’ proposal. He just walks away! He finds the “cost” of following Jesus too high!
It will be an interesting exercise to ask ourselves: What is the one thing Jesus is asking us to give up to make our community life more meaningful? Can we let it go even though we worked so hard to get it for the sake of God’s Kingdom and our community? Does that “one thing” become a stumbling block to our desire for God and the well-being of our community? Do the words “give up” upset us as they did the rich young man? Do they sound too radical, too abrupt, too ... well, too immoderate to suit our tastes?
In the gospel, Jesus offers us a chance to flourish with a meaningful purpose in the present life. We can either walk away with a sad face or decide to accept the cost of giving up the that one thing.
About Father Jilson Tom, C.S.C.
Father Jilson Tom, C.S.C. is from the Northeast India Province of Holy Cross. A native of Kerala, Father Jilson has been serving in a parish and school ministry since his ordination twelve years ago. He joins the Family Rosary team as an Assistant, while he works to study Pastoral Counseling in the Boston area. With a personal devotion to Mother Mary, Father Jilson is thrilled to be working to enhance family prayer through the Rosary. And if you ever need a listening ear or want to play a board game, Father Jilson’s your guy!