Sunday, August 17, 2014


“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.” Mt 19:21

Perfection in the New Testament is a curious word. A good translation is complete or whole. Usually this helps us make much more sense of Jesus' teaching. When he tells the rich young man to be perfect, he wants him to be fully or completely aligned with God's plan, and this becomes the the young man's obstacle. Rich in his own estimation and thinking that he can earn closeness to God, he misses the point of the Law. Observance of the Law does not lead to perfection. Being at one with God through the Law is our goal. Clearly, anything that distracts us from this objective must be avoided.

Most people in our society do not have to worry about having too many possessions, money or power, but all of us need to be aware of how much we cling to what we do have. Almost as a hedge against Jesus' promises, we hold fast to anyone or anything that gives us temporary comfort, and while Jesus understands this, he warns against it. God is enough, Jesus insists, and his own life will bear witness to this. Overwhelmed by his suffering, Jesus asks God to spare his life, but then, unlike the rich young man, he submits totally to God for our salvation.

Today, give yourself fully to God and see where it leads you.

What or who do you cling to out of fear and unhealthy need?

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