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Don't Walk Away
Gospel Reflection for August 21, 2023
“Now someone approached him 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.” (Mt. 16:19-22 NABRE)
This Gospel reading leads us to wonder why the young man, who clearly desired to live for God, would not eagerly give up his possessions in order to attain the greatest possession of all. What was this young man thinking? Jesus stood right before him, guiding him and leading him to Himself, and yet the young man turned his back on the Lord.
It can be easy to question, or even judge, his decision to walk away from Jesus. And yet, we all have a little bit of this young man inside of us.
There are things in our lives that we struggle with giving up in order to better live for God. Maybe we don’t struggle with being generous to the poor or giving up our possessions like the young man, but there are always certain sins or vices in our lives that we may choose to hold onto.
What sins or vices are difficult for you to let go of? Are you willing to actively work towards removing them from your life?
If we know there are things in our lives that need changing, we must turn to the Lord and seek His support and strength. Unlike the young man, we must be willing to do what it takes to truly follow Jesus in our lives. Though it might be difficult to master our flesh by denying ourselves, we must not walk away from the Lord! He will help us overcome these difficulties so that we can be more fully united to Him.