Try and Do Our Best

10-10-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Our Gospel passage this weekend is about Jesus and the Young Man. One should notice that the young man has self-confidence and is also generous in spirit, and in addition, is vibrant in his approach to life. Jesus obviously saw the young man and wanted to speak with him. We realize, of course, that the young man's request was quite a legitimate question to ask Jesus. Perhaps the young fellow was a little out of line by the salutation of "Good Master" for Jesus certainly corrected that. He reminds the young man that God alone is good, and thus in a sense any good we do is because of God. Yet we must hear the entire story for everything to fit together properly.

Jesus repeats the commandments to this young fellow and also his apostles who are listening. It appears that this young man believes that he has faithfully followed these commandments so far in his life and tells Jesus so. As a result, Jesus then noting the self-confidence and wealth of the young man, says give up the one thing that is standing in your way. This "thing" is his wonderful possessions due to wealth. This advice of Jesus ends the dialogue quite abruptly.

It is quite romantic and idealistic to say I will give up everything. In life, it is hard, if not near impossible, to give up your very last thing. When we have given that up, we no longer have control over our lives. We have surrendered something different, or more. We can no longer place conditions on what happens to us.

It is clearly certain that the very apostles themselves wondered who in the world can do this. They probably knew that they were unable to do so. Our self is often the problem or hindrance that keeps us from reaching a higher level in life. We often want or desire what is best in our lives, but we do not want to put in the effort and work to have it. Much like the young man, we are full of noble ideas and thoughts, but when reality sets in; we are more limited in our work and efforts.

The Gospel is really about Jesus inviting the young man to become more in grace and holiness. We also are called to be better in grace and holiness. Like the young man, we may not reach the level of perfection, but like the young man, we must try and do our best.