August 19, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Mt. 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.

Reflection (Sem. Julis de Gracia):

Detachment and Attachment

     The singularity of heart and purpose is important in following and discipleship of Jesus Christ. More than obedience to the commandments, there are necessary steps towards the perfection of our discipleship. It’s a journey without shortcuts.

     One way or another we are like the “rich young man” whom Jesus encountered in our gospel today. Let us look at ourselves in terms of our values and attitudes towards Jesus and our fellowmen.  In terms of our values, we are rich in self-centeredness, rich in pride, and rich in indifference, to the extent we even compromise our faith and morals just to avoid conflict.  Let us visit as well our attitudes. Perhaps our focus is only ourselves, of how to be rich and famous, powerful and the like, apart from being sensitive as well to the needs and aspirations of others.

     Let me further share two points for our reflection this day. I believe we are invited to look at once again how we are doing in relations to;

     Detachment and Attachment – Our gospel invites us to reflect, realize and act in order detach ourselves from the fleeting happiness and security that the world may give, like wealth, power and fame. In the long run all of these will pass, wealth depletes, and power ceased and fame fades. Only Jesus remains in the end.

     Our society becomes an “accumulating society”, thus our living out and frequent choosing of God over and above anything else, will always be challenged. It will be difficult, but remember it becomes meritorious as well. It’s not an overnight process, we fall short but hopefully we rise strive more for the greater glory of God.

      We need to detach ourselves from the fleeting material things of this world and be attached only to Jesus our Lord and Savior, our true peace, wealth and power. As Jesus words to the rich young man, Jesus is also telling this to us right now; “If you wish to be perfect, go, and sell what you have and give to the poor, (DETACHMENT) and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.(ATTACHMENT) (Mt. 19:21)

     This is not an overnight conversion and renewal. But through God’s grace and mercy, “detachment from material things and attaching our all to Jesus” is not impossible. We have the examples of the Apostles, the saints and martyrs who are human like us but they did. And so we are too, through God’s grace.

     Detachment from material things that hampers our full relationship with Jesus towards others and Attaching ourselves to Jesus alone makes us secure in God’s kingdom, in God’s providence and God’s compassion. So that we do not undergo the disappointment of the rich young man, “When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Mt. 19:22)

     Let us start now brothers and sisters, to have our own DETACHMENT from worldly things/values to pave the way to our ATTACHMENT for and with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

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