Today’s Gospel reminds us that if we try to please God and seek eternal life a moment will come when we ask a potentially scary question, like the young man did today, “What do I still lack?” It’s no coincidence that today’s First Reading speaks of idolatry and the misfortunes of Israel when they chose other gods and, when God delivered them through the judges, lapsed back into their old ways. If the spiritual life is easy, it’s a moment to ask, like the young man, what we are lacking. We know Our Lord teaches us that we must lose our life in order to save it, and take up our cross every day and follow him. The cross implies that tough choices for the sake of Our Lord have to be made.
The young man today made the wrong choice. He had tried to live the commandments, but he was attached to his possessions. Our Lord made him choose, and that revealed an idolatry we can suffer from today: putting people, situations, and things before God. If something separates us from God, it separates us from eternal life and any true happiness we could have achieved. Under the weight of this idolatry it’s no wonder that the young man went off sad when he didn’t opt for Christ: deep down he knew eternal life was at stake, and he blew it.
Don’t be afraid to ask Our Lord the question today in your own spiritual life: “Lord, what do I lack?” No matter how costly it appears, it will lead to eternal happiness for you and for others. Take the next step and trust in Our Lord’s help.
Readings: Judges 2:11–19; Psalm 106:34–37, 39–40, 43ab, 44; Matthew 19:16–22. See also 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Monday, Year I