Ezekiel 24:15-23; (Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:18-21;Matthew 19:16-22
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. (Matthew 19:21)
What do I need to do to get to heaven? This is an age-old question that millions of people have asked. The rich young man in today’s Gospel reading had everything he could have wanted, but he still felt empty. He lived a fine life with many possessions and appeared to be a very upstanding person. Yet something was stirring in his heart, and he was determined to ask Jesus about it.
Let’s imagine the scene as the young man approaches Jesus. “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery,” Jesus tells the man. “I have obeyed these,” he replies. Jesus continues, “You shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness.” “These I have also followed,” the man insists. “What about ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Love your neighbor’ ”? Jesus presses. “Yes, I have done these things. What am I missing here?” “Sell everything, give to the poor, and follow me.”
Now, what if the man had not walked away sad but instead admitted that he couldn’t do this on his own? Surely Jesus would have embraced him and rejoiced that he was opening his heart to God.
Perhaps you have wondered what acceptable thing you can do to gain salvation. Maybe you are trying to be a better person, with varying degrees of success, and wondering whether you’re going to make it.
But Jesus is standing before you and asking you to do just one thing: “Follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Whatever it is that may be holding you back, let it go. The rich young man was too tied to his possessions. What are you too attached to? Try your best to lay it before the Lord and ask him to help you let go of it. Then just follow him. Don’t look back. Just keep looking forward. Take the next step. And the next step. And the one after that. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself running after him, free and clear.
“Jesus, you are my greatest treasure. You are my most valuable possession. Help me to lay my life before you. Give me the grace to follow you and put you first each day.”~WAU