Oct 12 2009
The Rich Young Man
17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18″Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]”
20″Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29″I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
It’s been days and I still find myself questioning this… “Do I really need everything that I posses?” Over the years, I have collected many items from knick-knacks to collectible art, rare items and not-so-rare items. I look around my room and I can’t even believe the amount of “things” I have kept all these years. Are any of these necessary for me to survive? I think not.
When I was younger, I had nothing in mind but to finish school and then enter the monastery to become a priest. I chose to be a Franciscan because the life of St. Francis of Assisi is one that I intended to follow. After reading the book about the life of St. Francis, I became deeply inspired by his ideals and his faith.
The turning point came to St. Francis when he visited the Church of San Damiano and heard the voice of Christ saying, “Francis, rebuild my church.” He took this literally, took fabric from his father’s store and sold it so he could use the money to rebuild the church. His father considered that act as an act of thievery and wanted him to return the money so he was taken in front of the bishop and demanded that he return all the money that he earned from the stolen fabrics. That was all Francis needed to hear. He not only gave back the money but stripped off all his clothes — the clothes his father had given him — until he was wearing only a hair shirt. In front of the crowd that had gathered he said, “Pietro Bernardone is no longer my father. From now on I can say with complete freedom, ‘Our Father who art in heaven.’”
I remember a time in my life when everything was so simple. I get simple joys from watching a leaf fall from a tree during the fall season. I enjoyed gazing at the sky filled with stars on a clear night. It was enough for me to take a ride in my car and see the blue sky open up and my eyes would well up with tears of joy. The wonders of God’s creation. That was a time in my life when I barely own anything.
Did you know that there was a time in my life that I felt a burden on my shoulders every time I purchased anything? It really came down to giving everything away in order that I would feel the freedom that St. Francis might have felt during that moment. A feeling that I would like to feel again.
People wonder why even to this day, I would still think about the possibility of my entering a religious order. It is somewhat of a fantasy for me. I want to give up everything I have and follow Christ. It may never happen but it is always and will always be in my head. I wonder if that is what they mean by “being called to holiness”. It’s almost a nagging voice inside of me.
Now that I have almost everything that I need and almost everything that I wanted in life, I feel empty and confused. There’s just too many material things to worry about. Am I too attached to the world because of the things that I possess? Life has become so complicated that I don’t feel like I am living the life I was destined to have. Is it too late for me to change? Why do I even feel this way?