Excess Baggage

19 August 2019. Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Reflection (Sem. John Paul T. Toting)

When can we truly say that we are happy? In today’s Gospel, the young man who approached Jesus has a lot of possessions, but he is unhappy and wants to know what must he do to inherit eternal life. As I reflect on this encounter, I remember the time when I was discerning to enter the seminary. During that time, I was asking myself if I am truly decided to let go of all those that I had – full time with my family, frequent moments with my closest friends, my career and several opportunities, financial stability, comfort zone, and all that I hold dear. With this, I realize that as I heed to His call and begin my journey, I need to let go of some excess baggage first, baggage that might slow down or interrupt the journey. This was the hardest phase of my vocation discernment, but I plunged anyway. But this “plunge” is not easy as well. It is like diving off a cliff wherein the bottom is obscured and you do not know whether where you will land on a stable ground, a rocky cliff, a muddy marsh, a thorny land, deep water, etc.

Indeed, the journey is not easy and the demands are great. Though He doesn’t necessary tells us to give all of our possessions away, what God asks us is to submit ourselves fully to Him and to conform to His will. Now, let us go back with the question: when can we truly say that we are happy? Real happiness only comes from God and we can only achieve this by faithfully following the footsteps of Christ. Our quest for joy begins and ends in Jesus Christ alone. As we embark on our very own journey of finding our happiness through Christ, may we always remember that even in times that He asks us to let go of some baggage, He is just preparing to give us another one which is more valuable than that we had to let go.

The Gospel Today

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.

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