Posted: 18 Aug 2013 06:30 AM PDT
Today’s Gospel Text: And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. Matt 19:16-22
Reflection: We know that mere good deeds can’t save us from eternal damnation and St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians reminds us of it:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast. Eph 2:8-9
Whether we work to liberate people from every form of oppression, and alleviate the sufferings of the marginalized or work towards the emancipation of the poor and those on the periphery of society or visit the sick and the homeless or feed the hungry or clothe the naked, it can by itself never gain for us eternal life.
But does he not assure us in the gospel of Matthew; eternal life for feeding the hungry and the poor and for clothing them and visiting them in prison?
Many interpret Matthew’s text by not reading it in its context and not interpreting it the way the Lord has clearly presented it to us.
Does the Lord also not warn us when he says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”? Matt 7:21
So the key is to do all things is by abiding in Christ and doing it according to his will.
In other words, it means the work of faith, beginning with Jesus and ending with Jesus.
There are many who have plunged themselves in works of mercy and in so called Christian charity without keeping the mandate of Christ and his vision for humanity close at heart.
The gospel that they preach is that of mere human emancipation based on materialism and at the most human development; a purely economic or socio-psychological exercise.
For them the gospel of Christ is powerless to change society and if in any way Christ exists in their agenda then it is to gather funds in his name or as a cover of light to hide the dark.
Prayer: O God, the source of all goodness, help us to imitate you and your good ways which you have revealed to us in your Son Jesus that we may always walk in his grace.
DD = Dedicated Discipleship: Come grow in the Lord with us