February 27, 2017
Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)
In life, the hardest things to let go are the ones you worked tirelessly for. These are the things that you think you deserve after all the effort you put into it. These are our rewards. These are our blessings. In the Old Testament, wealth and material goods are signs of God’s favor. So the reaction of the rich man was not surprising. He was following the Law of Moses. He was a righteous man and there was no doubt about that. He deserved his rewards. He was blessed. But Jesus challenged him further by not only doing good for the reward of the kingdom but also being the goodness that the poor and the greater people need. One cannot be a blessing to another if he carries along with him the blessings he wish to keep for himself. He cannot give his all.
Jesus is teaching us detachment from unnecessary things that will not ensure our entry to his kingdom. Our material blessings are given to us not for our personal consumption alone; not because we deserve it or entitled to it. We are blessed because we have the greater responsibility to be a blessing to others. The moment we get attached to these material goods, our whole “being a blessing” to others is jeopardized. One does not need numerous wealth to be a blessing to others. Oftentimes, having nothing materially makes a great blessing – the blessing of self. I was saddened when one rich parishioner shared how she helped a beggar near her house. She started by flaunting how she helped a beggar. A beggar knocked on her door and she gave the poor man twenty (20) pesos. She was so satisfied with what she did that she considers that incident Jesus knocking at her door and she was able to help Jesus. She is right on that particular matter but she could have done more for Jesus.
Going out of our way; our convenient ways in helping others is an offering of self to others. Money can be a convenience for the rich man but I believe it is not so much about the giving all his wealth away that made him hesitate. It is the giving of himself that greatly saddened him. It was the most inconvenient thing for him and that would entail finding value in himself that he can offer to others. One cannot see his value if one has been used to putting value on the things he possess. Our selves can be the greatest blessing we can give to others. Let us look to Jesus, the God made man, who offered his total self for us. Jesus was a poor man. He did not have much but He was the greatest blessing humanity has ever received. He gave it freely eventhough we do not deserve it. Let us ask God to grant us the grace to be a blessing to others.