Reflection on the Daily Readings for 8/17/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Lectionary # 419. Monday, August 17,2009
Scripture: Judges 2:11-19. Psalm 106:34-35.36-37.39-40.43,44. Matthew
19:16-22. Lectionary # 419:
We would love to be speaking with Jesus as the young man does in today’s
selection from Matthew. Matthew has “corrected” Mark’s remark that no one
is good except God to saying, “Why do you question me about what is good?
There is One who is good.” Perhaps, Matthew is returning to the sacred
proclamation of the Shemah which would be uppermost in the mind of a Jewish
person and all the moreso in Jesus and the Jewish Evangelist Matthew. That
verse in Deuteronomy is “Hear, O Israel:The Lord is our God, the Lord is
one.” Jesus then, after hearing the young man out, tells him to observe the
commandments–but enumerates only those that deal with one’s neighbor.
Jesus knew that the young man was observant and believed in the One God.
He moves the man to think about being generous and reverent to others. He
will challenge this youth to even give up his possessions and follow the
Lord Jesus in discipleship, but that is where the person is too attached to
his possessions and cannot make the decision to follow Jesus and detach
himself from what he owns.
We are led to think of the Evangelist who possibly is the tax collector who
has listened to the call of discipleship and probably was rich at the
expense of others. He leaves all that and throws a banquet for Jesus and
his friends and then follows Jesus.
Though this passage is often used for those who follow the vowed religious
life, it is meant for all of us whether single, married, or vowed.
Detachment is necessary if we want to observe the commandments and be
complete and mature in our respective callings. That is what the word
“telios” (perfect) means here. God calls all of us to be “perfect” even as
his heavenly Father is perfect.” We all need to be aware of those around
us who are in need. We need to be generous with our possessions and share
them, not to deprive ourselves but to realize that if God has blessed us
with them they should help those who are in need. Following Jesus demands
that we do practice detachment and make him and his call to us a priority.
Our gifts are also the spiritual ones like taking time to listen to others,
to be patient with them, and to be generous with our time. We also should
support the needs of our parish and our schools whenever we can.
Discipleship is a costly adventure but one that is full of surprising
graces when we follow Jesus. Amen.