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Monday – Eighth Week – OT2
Readings: I Pet 1:3-9; Mk 10:19-27
Reading 1 (I Pet 1:3-9):
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.
Gospel (Mk 10:19-27):
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.”
I. THEME: Faithful to Christ shall bring the eternal life.
There are many people who worked hard to possess thing which they think that it shall bring happiness, such as: power, fame, beauty or money; but when they reach it, they find out that it doesn’t bring happiness. Sometimes, it is too late for them to restart from the beginning.
Today readings guide people in locating the most important goal which they should aim at and how to effectively attain it. In the first reading, the author ascertained that the eternal life which Christ achieved for people is the most important inheritance which people should look for because this inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. In the Gospel, Jesus showed the rich young man the way to reach eternal life is to sell all what he has and to give them to the poor. He was sad and walked away because he had no wisdom and courage to do such thing.
1/ Reading I: The inheritance which we hope for isn’t in this life.
1.1/ The eternal life is achieved by Christ:
(1) Christ gives us the hope of eternal life: The author offered his prayer to God and revealed this hope as follows: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Before Christ’s coming, people has no hope for eternal life; but out of love, God gave us His only son so that he can die to redeem people’s sins. By his death and resurrection, he brings eternal life to people.
(2) The characteristics of Christ’s inheritance: Peter revealed for us some important details about the eternal life:
+ Imperishable: What belong to this material world shall be perishable and destroyed; what belong to heaven shall remain for ever.
+Undefiled: The human life on earth is constantly threatened by contamination and sickness; the life in heaven shall be free of all kinds of sickness.
+ Unfading: Health, beauty and all material things are fading with time; what belong to heaven shall be unchanged and remained for ever.
+ This inheritance is rewarded to people on the last day: People can only possess this inheritance after their death.
1.2/ The condition to attain eternal life: The author gave us one main condition which is to keep our faith in Christ amidst all trials and sufferings of our life. According to all Gospels, people need to put their faith in Christ in order to inherit the eternal life; but their faith shall be tested by worldly attractions and the devil’s temptations. When Jesus comes back, their tested faith shall become a praise and bring glory and honor for them. One of the most challenge for people is that they must believe and love Christ even though they never see him; but because of this challenge, people shall receive their reward. The author wrote: “Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
2/ Gospel: What must I do to attain the eternal life?
This is a living and important dialogue to help people to recognize what is the ultimate goal of their life. The young man who put out the question was a rich man and knew the existence of the eternal life. What he looked for is the way to reach that life when he asked Jesus: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
2.1/ The conditions for eternal life: Jesus’ answer contained two parts, one is negative; the other is positive. He demanded him to do both.
(1) To keep the commandments is negative: The commandments which belong to the area of not damaging others are negative, such as: “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.’ The young man answers Jesus, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
(2) To keep the commandment of love is positive: “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.”” To love others doesn’t stop at not to do anything bad to them; but must advance further by positively helping and doing good deeds to them. Jesus wanted to remind the rich young man that material things belong to God, he was just the steward to distribute them, not to hoard them or to wastfully spend for himself.
2.2/ The reactions of:
(1) The rich young man: “At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” This is a concrete reason why richness prevents people to enter the kingom of God. There are some other reasons too:
+ Richness causes people to get close to created things and to stay far away from God. They worship creatures in stead of the creator who created all things.
+ Richness causes people to avoid and to insult others: They are afraid to be asked for help and to avoid the poor.
+ Richness causes people to evaluate everything on the basis of material gains, even the spiritual values. They only do what profit them materially.
(2) Jesus’ disciples: 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?”
Jewish tradition believes that richness is one of God’s blessing; other blessings are children and a long and healthy life. The disciples thought if the blessed can’t enter, how can the poor enter the kingdom of God? Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” He wanted to tell them that to enter the kingdom of God doesn’t depend on richness; but only to those who completely put their faith in Christ and in God’s providence.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– No one knows the meaning of life than the person who creates it. We must believe what God revealed to us through Christ.
– We should courageously get rid of all things that prevent us to reach the ultimate goal of our life. Don’t imitate the rich young man so that we shall not be regretted forever.