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Christ Is My Life
Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, allow me today to slow down and to place myself in your presence. I believe you are here, and you are speaking to me. You speak to me through your word in the Gospel, and the words of this dialogue have a special meaning for me, today, in my life. Let this message impact me, and guide me, so I can conform my life more to yours, and to your word. Let me be shaped by this meditation and let me shape my life according to it.
- What Is Good?: The young man in today’s Gospel had a sincere desire to seek what is good. He wanted to know how he should live his life, what he needed to do, and he had his focus in the right place: He wanted to obtain eternal life. When Jesus challenged his question, he pointed out that goodness doesn’t come only from works, from what one can do, but it comes from “the only One who is good.” Jesus wanted the man to stop depending on his good works, and to learn to center his life on the source of all goodness, which is the Father. While he certainly needed to do what was good and right–as was confirmed later–Jesus wanted him to spend less time looking at himself and more time looking at the Father. His life was to be driven by love for a person more than by a self-righteous desire to do the right things.
- What Do I Still Lack?: The young man confirmed that he had done what was good throughout his life. Was this question an attempt to be affirmed by Jesus? Was he assuming that he lacked nothing for his journey to heaven? Or did he ask, maybe, because he had an intuition that he was missing something important? There was a desire in his heart for something more. Simple adherence to the commandments didn’t satisfy this man and won’t satisfy us either.
- Come, Follow Me: This man, who had fulfilled the law, was invited to take the biggest step of his life—to open his heart and follow Jesus. Jesus could have simply told the man, “You need to live your life for God the Father” or, “You must give up all your possessions and serve in the temple.” Instead, acknowledging the sincerity of the man’s question, Jesus offered the only fulfillment that could truly satisfy him: “Follow me.” Jesus is the only one who can fulfill us, well beyond any joy we receive by merely “following rules.”
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I know you want me to follow you. At times in my life, I find myself asking more questions about what I need to do, what I am still lacking, than simply loving you in prayer. Help me to take the next step to put you at the center of my life.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pause once or twice to recall your presence in my life, and to renew my desire to follow you.
For Further Reflection: Time for God, by Jacques Philippe.
Father Adam Zettel, LC, was ordained in 2017 and since then has been working as a high school chaplain in Dallas, Texas. During his years of formation and as a priest, he has worked extensively with youth and offers constant pastoral care to families.